Best practices for healthcare providers with multiple locations?

Hi team,

I have a healthcare client on Answers who is looking to us for our recommendation for providers that serve at multiple locations. They currently have provider entities set up with 1 primary location, i.e. Joe Smith in Washington DC, but they also want Joe to appear in results where he may also serve like Baltimore for “providers in Baltimore”.

I know sometimes we recommend having duplicate entities per location i.e. 1 Joe Smith in Washington DC and 1 Joe Smith in Baltimore, but my concern would be that 2 providers would appear in a search for “Joe Smith”.

Do we have examples or best practices we can point to? Thank you!

Hi Hannah,

Creating multiple entities for those providers would be the best way to ensure that users in both areas get the most accurate results for providers in their area. If a user searches for a specific provider and gets multiple results back, they will have enough information to decide which location they would like to see that provider at. The results will be sorted by nearest entity, ensuring users get the most relevant results.

See a live client example here:

This works similarly with Listings - we recommend having multiple entities in the Knowledge Graph for each location a provider serves, to ensure users get the most accurate information.

Thanks @Kristy_Huang ! Do we have a way to avoid showing duplicative results when the user searches by name? i.e. searching “Richard Hamilton” here and seeing 2 results for Richard might be confusing for the user, versus removing the address from the card and just having a single “Richard Hamilton” result. I’m thinking especially for providers that have several locations it might make more sense to collapse their entities into a single card.

recognizing this is an old post, can anyone provide insight on preventing duplicate cards when setting up duplicate Provider entities per location? Are there any best practice documents for this scenario?

Hi @John_Maloney,

What some users have done is link facility entities to a main entity and set up the backend configuration to search the addresses of those linked facility entities. Here’s a high level walkthrough of the configuration:

  1. Set up healthcare facility entities and link it to the provider entity (Linked Entities training).

  2. In the configuration for the providers vertical, make the geolocation of those linked facilities searchable (training on making entity relationships searchable and a specific section on geolocation filters across entity relationships). This will return this provider entity for searches that are relevant to all their address locations. Note you can only add this in the JSON editor, which will look something like:

      "verticals": {
        "providers": {
          "searchableFields": {
            "c_practicingLocations.builtin.location": {
              "nlpFilter": true
  3. Add/edit the saved filter for the providers vertical to only include one entity per provider. You can use a “Yes/No” field that flags whether an entity is the primary provider entity or a unique entity.

  4. On the landing page, you can pull in the linked facility entities to show the addresses of all facilities this provider works at.

Let us know if this works for you or if you have any questions about your specific setup!

The linked facilities approach makes sense, thank you, @Kristy_Huang !

Based on step #3, is it the case that we either need to have only one entity record per provider OR if we have duplicate provider records we need to make sure one is flagged as the primary - where only primary providers are returned in the provider vertical. Is that the case?

Yes exactly. Since we want a maximum of one result card per provider, we can only return a maximum of one entity per provider and so we limit this using a saved filter (or only have one entity per provider in the first place, but if you have Listings, you’ll need a unique entity per provider-location combination).

Otherwise, if you have multiple entities per provider, the backend will return all possible results, which could include duplicates. We don’t recommend taking a front-end approach to consolidate the entities, as the front-end would display something different from the Search Logs and Analytics. This could potentially cause issues for dynamic re-ranking, sorting logic, or troubleshooting the experience.

I recognize this could potentially be more of a manual process, so hopefully there’s an existing field that already indicates an entity as the primary that you can repurpose.

@Kristy_Huang - This is so helpful! Thank you so much!