Practo exists to help patients find and decide on the right healthcare service provider. Over the years, we have stumbled and learnt a lot about how feedback works and how we can improve this tool to help both patients and doctors better.
To explain our latest feature, we must first understand how healthcare is different and unique from other industries and by extension, how healthcare feedback is a different ballgame.
What makes health care different from food and travel? It’s more personal AND it involves higher stakes since it deals with one’s health
What makes health care feedback different? The feedback on a healthcare provider can impact human lives more profoundly than other ‘feedbacks’. More importantly, healthcare is a “credence good” – Part of the feedback is about something a consumer (patient, in this case) doesn’t fully understand.
Due to this intrinsic difference, a lot of patients openly share their opinion on a doctor’s medical ability and treatment outcome, where, patients may not be fully equipped to make this judgement. This example shows how – “In order to make a patient recover faster, a doctor was found to prescribe stronger dosages of medicines. However, this medication was shown to have serious repercussions later”
This puts patients in a biased position and clouds their opinion of a practitioner. Thus, it’s not possible for them to be completely objective about judging how good/bad a doctor is.
The Blur Feature
Keeping this in mind, we have released the BLUR FEATURE. This feature simply blurs out parts of feedback from public viewing that comment on a doctor’s ability or treatment outcome. This is done with both, positive and negative feedback. Having said this, doctors can still view the entire feedback privately.
We encourage patients to express their opinion about the experience with a doctor in terms of behaviour, appointment experience, hygiene, etc. However, this feature restricts publishing any comment on accuracy of treatment and diagnosis. Those are fact based and validating such claims require extensive medical evaluation. In short, we encourage patients to express their feelings about a doctor, but not as a matter of fact.
Example – “I am feeling better” can be published. But “…the treatment did not work” will be blurred.
The purpose of doing this is to give out only objective feedback that can help future patients choose a doctor in the most unbiased fashion.
How does it work?
Once a patient feedback is submitted, it is reviewed by our moderation team. The parts that comment on a doctor’s medical ability or treatment outcome are manually picked out and blurred out from public viewing. The comments which are blurred fall into 2 main categories:
- Comments on doctor’s ability. E.g. Great doc, knowledgeable, doesn’t know about his domain
- Comments on treatment outcome. E.g. Got better with XYZ medicine in a day
For us to do this in a completely unprejudiced manner, we have decided apply this rule for all doctors with positive and negative feedback, both.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Why are certain parts of the feedback blurred?
Patients are not the best judge of medical ability of the doctor or his comments on the treatment effectiveness as a patient doesn’t have the relevant knowledge to do so. For e.g. Most patients would positively comment on a doctor who cures an ailment fast without understanding the long term implications of the medicine prescribed.
There are many such biases which result in patients not being fully equipped to comment on a doctor’s medical capability. For this reason, we blur out this portion from all patient feedback.
2. Which parts are being blurred?
Any comments on the medical ability of the doctor or comments on the treatment effectiveness will be blurred. E.g. Doctor is knowledgeable, Doctor treated well, etc.
3. How does Practo identify what parts to be blurred out?
We have a team of trained experts who diligently review each feedback to identify statements on doctor ability and treatment outcome to be blurred out.
4. When has this been done and how can patients find out about it?
The blur feature has been released in the month of September 2016. This feature is prompted in two crucial places
- ‘Tips for feedback’ section when patients are giving feedback
- In the feedback guidelines for patients