Helping patients find the right Healthcare Provider (HCP) based on their needs, is at the core of Practo’s vision. We combine factual information, along with signals from past patients, and understand a patient’s search query – their specific health problem, desire for convenience, etc. – to give them the most relevant options, when making this choice.
To achieve this, we’ve undergone extensive user behavior study and devised an algorithm that determines which HCPs are displayed in the listing and the order in which they are listed. This algorithm, called the Practo Listing Algorithm (earlier, called the Practo Relevance Algorithm) is a proprietary algorithm developed by Practo, and takes several parameters into consideration. Each of these parameters plays an important role in determining an HCP’s position on the listings. Furthermore, this position is dynamic and is completely determined by the patient’s search query, location, filters and sorting options used.
The three parameters that we consider are – Relevance, Patient Experience, and Popularity. Below is a detailed explanation of each.
Relevance parameters help us fine tune search results on the basis of the patient’s search query. We take several implicit and explicit cues to give the closest match of providers who can treat the patient’s healthcare issue.
Kalyani has flu symptoms and is looking for a doctor. Due to her search query, we can infer that she is likely to prefer a GP within her locality as compared to the most popular GP in her city.
Another patient, Harish, is suffering from Coronary Artery Disease and is searching for a specialist. Due to his search query, we can infer he is likely to prefer the most recommended cardiac surgeon in town who specialises in coronary artery diseases as opposed to a nearby cardiologist.
To determine the relevance of the results for the patient queries, we currently consider the following parameters:
a. Location – When a patient searches for an HCP, the position of the HCPs in the listing is influenced by the distance from the patient’s location. Whereas, when a patient explicitly searches for a specific location, we use that for determining the HCP relevant to the said location.
. b. Specialization & Experience – Based on the patient’s search query, we match the providers who are most relevant to address the patient’s health query. We do this mapping based on our tool – Practo Bluebook – a central repository that maps an HCP’s educational qualifications to the specialization, healthcare conditions, symptoms and issues they can treat. This information is captured from several sources. Also, an HCP’s expertise on solving a healthcare issue is largely dependent on the practitioner’s exposure to their field at a practical level. Thus, years of experience adds to the merit of an HCP as it is a direct indicator of the growth in his/her field.
2. Patient Experience
Patient Experience is not just one encounter but spans over time and includes many touch points. While a patient’s experience with the consultation and treatment is most important to the patient, other factors that have shown to affect a patient’s satisfaction with the appointment experience includes – respect for their time, staff that is polite and helpful, clinic hygiene etc.
Patients express their satisfaction on the above expectations either by continuing their treatment with the same HCP or by giving positive recommendations. Therefore, we consider the following two cues –
a. Repeat Patients*: A high repeat rate indicates that the patient has had a good experience in the past and for future needs is willing to visit the same HCP again. Repeat rate is captured through repeat appointments/calls made with the HCP through the Practo ecosystem.
b. Patient Recommendations*: We capture recommendations made by patients for the particular HCP which beside other factors, also include indicators such as doctor-no-show, wait time beyond the time of appointment, accuracy of doctor’s information (timings, fees etc.) against what is shown on doctor’s Practo profile etc. to determine the satisfaction of patients with the particular healthcare provider and his/her practice
Popularity is a crucial decision parameter for a patient looking for a doctor to treat his/her health issue. In the offline world, people determine popularity by asking their friends, family, family doctors and other influencers. We use the following online cues to determine popularity–
a. Profile Views*: We take into account the number of recent unique users visiting the HCP profile from any channel on Practo, or who are searching the HCP or his/her practice directly on search engines like Google, Bing, etc. Any kind of search activity# around the HCP name or his/her practice on search engines directly affects our algorithm as it reflects his/ her popularity outside of Practo ecosystem too.
b. Appointments/Calls*: The second factor we use to determine popularity is the number of genuine appointments/calls an HCP has received from Practo.com.
To date, we have over 2.3 lakhs providers and medical establishments listed. In the past year, 25 million people have visited Practo.com to find healthcare providers and book appointments with them. We have a huge responsibility towards patients and healthcare providers to match the right patient to the right doctor. To address this, we are constantly working on making our listing algorithm better without compromising on fairness. Our algorithm is completely unbiased and there is no way to request or pay for better relevance.
We encourage all Healthcare providers on Practo.com to understand the relevance algorithm to benefit their own practices and profiles. Below are some FAQs to further clarify doubts.
*For doctors who are new to Practo.com and may not have the scores for the above-mentioned fields, the algorithm assigns a median value till we have enough data captured through Practo.com to assign them a true value.
#The visibility provided by Google AdWords does not affect our relevance algorithm. It only counts the organic traffic from search engines like Google and Bing.
A doctor’s relevance is dynamic and constantly changing since the performance of a doctor/clinic on the aforementioned factors is also constantly changing. Thus, there cannot be a guaranteed listing spot for a doctor/clinic as this relevance is subject to change with time and user preferences. Also, this algorithm is completed automated with zero manual intervention.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What are the best practices to improve a doctor’s visibility on Practo Listing?
You can get more out of your Practo Listing by adopting certain best practices to improve the 3 parameters – Popularity, Relevance and Patient Experience that govern the listing algorithm:
- A basic step to improve “Relevance” is to have a completed and updated profile at all times. Make sure that you update your timings, fees, location, photographs, services offered, etc. to ensure that we have all necessary and correct information to showcase you to relevant patients
- We infer “Popularity” based on several indicators such as appointments & calls on Practo, repeat appointments, profile views, searches on external search engines, etc. We realize that popularity is largely determined by how you run your practice, and we use the above parameters as a proxy to determine popularity.
- Patient experience is crucial to the Practo listing algorithm and there are several ways in which you can impact this:
- Keep to appointment timings promised
- Encourage patients to give more feedback – genuine feedback is the best indicator of patient experience. However, we urge doctors to encourage only genuine feedback and not abuse the Practo feedback system. Please don’t force your patients to give you a positive feedback or demand for an in-premise feedback – abusing the feedback system can lead to corrective action taken against your profile.
- Engage with patients through feedback on Practo, by replying to both positive and constructive feedback.
Q: Who decides the listing order? Is it manually done?
The listing order is completely automated and has zero manual intervention. The factors that govern the listing order are mentioned above. Furthermore, the algorithm learns patient behavior over time to deliver best results.
Q: Can I pay to have better position on Practo listing?
No, position on the listings cannot be changed/ modified on request or through payment. All organic listings in Practo are completely free. Any verified doctor can be listed on Practo free of charge. The relevance or listing order is dependent on Popularity, Relevance and Patient Experience which is captured through several factors. A doctor can work towards improving these factors.
Q: Does buying any Practo product affect my listing order on Practo?
No, it does not. Practo listings are completely organic and free. Buying any Practo product like Practo Ray, Practo Tab, Qikwell SaaS, Practo Reach, Insta HIMS does not affect a provider’s listing order in any manner.
Q: Providers who are subscribers to Practo Reach get certain profile views from this subscription. Are they taken into account for listing order on Practo?
The listing algorithm only takes organic views into accounts. This means that the views from Practo Reach or the appointments generated from these views are not counted to calculate the listing order of a doctor.
Q: How often does the listing order change?
Position in the listing changes real time, based on data we keep acquiring to ensure all practitioners have a fair chance of gaining visibility on the platform provided they are relevant to the patient query. A specific HCP’s position may change for different patient queries, and even for the same query over time, depending on the ever-changing relevance.
Q: I recently got my profile listed on Practo.com. How are my order on the listing determined?
For doctors who are new to Practo, we are able to determine the relevance of your profile for a particular patient query right from the beginning, if you maintain a completed and updated profile. To infer Popularity and Patient Experience, we start with a median value for parameters and then as we capturing data keep taking various signals and keep improving the listing order over time.