Know your Provider

Provider profile

Provider profiles are meant to provide symmetric information about various health providers so that health seekers can make informed choices based on their goals and requirements. They include profiles of key healthcare providers in the community, including doctors, community health workers, pharmacists, volunteers, etc. Apart from essential details such as names and contact numbers, these profiles also include information such as what motivates them to do the work they do, etc.

At present, such information may not be readily available to the seekers, especially in low-resource environments. Limited literacy and lack of access to information may curtail choice for vulnerable communities, especially women, to make informed decisions regarding their providers. This may further lead to accessing doctors who may not have the right skill sets or attitude to provide care. 

In the future, provider profiles can also expand beyond capturing basic information of the doctors to include other details such as what motivates them to do the work they do. To root this in local contexts, these could also include feedback and testimonials from seekers ending up in a community-driven and locally relevant database built overtime. On the other hand, giving health seekers the agency and ability to choose the provider they want to seek care from would also give them more confidence in the treatment protocol, reducing non-adherence as well as additional costs of going through multiple doctors, as seekers often end up doing. 

However, there might be a few challenges to address before implementing such an idea: 

Sourcing and maintaining a list of certified doctors can be a challenging task, to begin with and be consistent at. There is also scope for malpractice in the process and a lack of adherence to prescribed quality standards. 

The medical industry outside of formal structures is not very well-defined; there is usually a variety of providers in the ecosystem. Local leaders and decision-makers would thus have to be cautious and follow guidelines for identifying and vetting these practitioners. 

Framing opportunities is an early step towards addressing these challenges.

  • How might we create processes to ensure certified doctors can be exhaustively enlisted with their complete profiles?

  • How might we create standard operating protocols for local authorities to identify and build a relevant and reliable database informed by the grassroots realities? 

  • How might we create accessible channels– digital and non-digital– for communities to seek provider information?