* Reaffirming its commitment to improve access to quality healthcare, this move is aimed at taking a holistic approach towards understanding and responding to the needs of native language customers
In a country where just over 10% of its population can speak English, the need to break down the language barrier in patient-doctor communications and facilitate equitable, value-based healthcare cannot be emphasized enough. Keeping this in mind, Practo, India’s leading integrated healthcare company, has introduced vernacular language options for its teleconsultation service.
This initiative will allow online consultation users to choose a doctor who can speak in their preferred language. Currently, this service covers 15 languages – including Hindi, Marathi, Tamil, Kannada and Bengali – with more to be added soon. With this, Practo is one step closer to breaking down access barriers for 200 million unique users in the future.
After receiving lakhs of user requests for language-specific features on Practo, this was launched as a pilot project earlier this year, with Hindi as the alternate option for users to choose from.
During this time, 25% of all online consultations on Practo were conducted in vernacular languages, with Hindi, Tamil, Marathi, and Kannada (in that order) emerging as their preferred language(s) for consultation. Around 67% of all vernacular consultations were from users living in non-metro cities. Remarkably, 65% of all vernacular consults were from users aged 60 and above.
Commenting on the new initiative, Siddhartha Nihalani, VP - Product Growth, Practo, said, “With a single-minded focus on creating equitable access to quality healthcare, Practo has devoted the past 12 years in building products that suit the needs of a heterogeneous user base. This has given rise to new products and more layers in older ones. In enabling interactions in native languages for online consultations - that undoubtedly enjoys wide acceptance - we hope to be one step closer to turning our vision of building access to quality healthcare into reality.”
Given that 9 out of 10 new internet users in India are native language speakers, an initiative like this will be critical in bridging the digital divide and overcoming language barriers in India’s growing digital healthcare ecosystem.
The vernacular language support feature will now be available on both Practo app and website. The company is also planning to introduce new interface capabilities to make the doctor-patient interaction more seamless and engaging.
Practo, the country's leading integrated healthcare company, connects the entire health ecosystem together – including patients, doctors, clinics, hospitals, pharmacies and diagnostics - to generate exceptional value and service for all, especially the end consumers. It integrates different parts of the patients' healthcare journey so they can have a seamless experience, right from finding and booking an appointment with verified doctors, consulting online with ETA as low as 60 seconds, getting medicines delivered and lab tests conducted at home, and accessing insightful health articles authored by verified doctors. Practo also makes software products that help healthcare providers - ranging from small clinics to large hospitals - digitize and deliver more efficient and higher quality healthcare to millions of patients around the world.
As technology becomes an integral part of healthcare, Practo has also become an essential enabler in helping doctors understand the nuances of managing and securely storing all health data. Practo encrypts all data with 256-bit encryption, uses HIPAA compliant data centers, and is one of the few healthcare companies to be ISO 27001 certified. Practo is present in 20+ countries, helping over 18 crore patients every year by connecting them with 1 lakh+ verified doctor partners.