On a merry Saturday evening you suddenly come down with a fever. The shivering is incessant and nausea is building up too. Things could have been better but they are not bad either, until someone brings up the Swine Flu outbreak in the city. You start panicking. A cab is booked for the nearest hospital but you are stuck in the infamous traffic.
Anxiety is through the roof so you search the internet about your symptoms. Your heart sinks when internet informs you of the possibility of a terminal disease. You search again and find Practo’s online consultation service. 3 clicks and 2 minutes later you are talking to an actual Doctor, who tells you that your fever is fairly ordinary (terminal only if a bear eats you). You reach the hospital with far less anxiety and a lot more reason.
The above is not a thriller script. It is just a dramatized version of a real-life account from a real Practo user.
Now you probably have 2 questions
FIRST: What is Practo?
Practo is a noble idea that took shape in 2008, in a college dorm in India, when one of the two founders couldn’t share his father’s medical reports with a doctor in the US.
Ever since then, Practo has devised numerous solutions for doctors and patients to make their lives easier. Following are just a few of their many offerings:
- An online doctor appointment booking platform
- Online consultation through text, call or video chat
- Diagnostic tests with home sample collections facility
- A slew of software for clinics, hospitals, and multi-chain clinics
[Visit practo.com for a complete rundown on all of her products and services.]
SECOND QUESTION: How do you consult online?
Practo offers an online doctor consultation service where patients can talk to specialists across many specialties.
It’s the next best thing to visiting a doctor physically.
Less than 2-min response time | In-chat report sharing | 100% secure
“How do you ensure 2-min responses?”
The first step of initiating an online consultation requires patients to elaborate on their health concern. Our automation system predicts the problem area and the related speciality. Later they proceed to pay the marginal consultation fee, after which our algorithm kicks in. It searches our database for the doctors who meet certain minimum criteria.
e.g. instant online availability, feedback received from previous consultations, general response time, experience in the field etc.
Next, we send notifications to these doctors on our Provider app about the potential consultation. These notifications are sent to different but relevant group of doctors until one accepts the request. In approximately 97–98% of the cases, one of the doctors in the group accepts the notification and directly connects with the patient.
Since the doctors accept the consultation directly, it implies that they can reply to the user instantly and in most of the cases, within a minute. In case the doctor is unable to reply to the patient’s messages, our system sends prompt reminders through repeated notifications.
Thousands of people use this feature to find solutions to nagging health problems. So, we work day and night to make it even more life-like. Recently, we have added video chat to the text so that the patients can literally see a doctor. (The video and audio calls in the text are free and the user don’t have to pay any extra amount).
Practo was ground up by some of the best people in the industry. And, its online consultation service has seen a hockey-stick growth in the last 2 years, and the credit for that goes to the Product, Engineering and Operations team working together day and night to give the best UX/UI to the anxious consumer (patient).
Want to give it a try? Just hit the following link:
Curious to understand the nuances of the feature? If you are in Bangalore and around JP Nagar, just ping me. I will be happy to indulge in a techie chat.
Disclaimer: The algorithm is a copyright of Practo and completely confidential. Excuse the spy- level discretion employed in the article. However, if you have more ideas and would like to use them to make the world better and healthier, join us!
Special Note: Thanks to Mahima Singh for taking time out and almost co-writing the article.