Karan Mhatre

2015 - User Research

Understanding the patient journey when choosing a hospital


I joined Practo in 2015, when the doctor listing platform had been up and running for about two years. The website helped patients find the right doctor.

My team’s mandate was to help patients find the right hospital to meet their needs.

We interviewed patients to understand their hospital selection process and if there were any specific data points they would be interested in knowing before making a choice.


One interesting response so that patients wanted to know the department’s or surgeon’s success rate during surgeries. Which seemed logical.

When discussed with doctors we realised that some of the best surgeons have a lower success rate when compared to the average surgeon, because they are the ones who handle the more complex cases.

“[the] best surgeons have a lower success rate that the average surgeon because they handle complex cases”

It was clear that we while we needed a user first approach, we also needed to understand the doctor’s and hospital’s point of view.

When do patients go to a hospital?

Parameters to be considered

Patients care about one thing. Getting healthy. I have a cough, cure me.

It is preferable to visit a bad hospital with a good doctor, but you would never want to visit a good hospital with a bad doctor. So before we understand hospitals, let’s see if we can understand how patients select a doctor.

Your experience with a hospital will be a function of certain objective parameters about the doctor, objective parameters about the hospital, and certain contextual factors related to you.

Hospital Experience = (Quality of Doctor x Quality of the Hospital x Contextual factors)

Objective parameters (Doctor)

Objective parameters (Hospital)

Subjective Parameters (Hospital)

Contextual parameters (What makes a service provider good for you?)


  1. When you’re choosing a hospital from a list of hospitals you need filters and categorisation, but when you need reaffirmation on your own decision, you care more for a single hospital’s profile. In order to fulfil this need, we needed to get detailed data for each hospital. So, the strategy was that even if we didn’t cover volumes of hospital it was fine, as long as we were getting detailed data about the ones that we did list on the platform.
  2. Patients looking to get an elective treatment care specifically about how the hospital is at providing that particular treatment. So it was worth understanding the treatments offered by each hospital and data points around the treatment (price, department, etc.)
  3. Speciality-specific data was important, for example, if a woman goes in to deliver a baby, she may not care about the doctors in the hospital’s orthopaedic department. So, based on the search, hospital data would need to be re-ordered to make it relevant for the user.

Do patients really think about ALL these factors before selecting a hospital or doctor?

No, but that’s why it is all the more important for a platform to distill all this information into an easy to consume format and assist the patient in their hospital selection journey.