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India witnessed 30x spike in online doctor consultations during second Covid wave: Practo

Our Bureau Mumbai | Updated on July 31, 2021

More than 50 per cent of all online consultations were for Pulmonologists and General Physicians for queries related to coronavirus and seasonal flu

India witnessed a significant surge in online doctor consultations during the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic, according to a report by integrated healthcare company Practo.

According to the report, Indians consulted doctors 10 times more during the second wave (April-May 2021) than in pre-Covid times (January-February 2020).

India witnessed a record 30x spike in online doctor consultations for Covid-related symptoms during this time.

More than 50 per cent of all online consultations were for Pulmonology and General Physician for queries related to coronavirus and seasonal flu. Other key specialities that were consulted during the period included Gynaecology (10 per cent), Dermatology (8 per cent) and Pediatrics (5 per cent).

The demand for general physicians (GPs) and pulmonologists was at an all-time high, according to the data.

"While online consultations for these specialities grew by 30x between April and May 2021, it stood at 6x during the last peak," it said.

Young Indians account for majority of queries

In terms of demographics, users aged 21-30 years comprised 50 per cent of overall online consultations, followed by those between 31 and 40 (22 per cent) and senior citizens (13 per cent).

The most requested query was regarding the side effects of the Covid-19.

"This also included doubts about the Covid-19 vaccines itself and its accompanying side effects such as a common cold, cough, sore throat, runny nose, and body ache," the report said.

There was a 10 per cent increase in online consultations among women as compared with the first wave. Thirty-five per cent of all consultations were made by women. This was higher than the number of women consulting during the last peak, when 25 per cent of all Covid-related consultations were initiated by women.

In terms of particular regions, metros witnessed a 9x growth in coronavirus-related consultations. Metro cities including Bengaluru, Delhi-NCR, and Mumbai accounted for 46 per cent of all coronavirus-related consultations. Meanwhile, online consultations in non-metros grew by 12x.

Non-metro cities accounted for 53 per cent of all consultations pertaining to the pandemic during the second wave, maintaining a stable increase from the first wave. Queries were majorly from cities such as Jaipur, Lucknow, Bhopal, Kanpur, and Chandigarh.

Dr Alexander Kuruvilla, Chief Healthcare Strategy Officer, Practo, said, “Online consultations have been on a steady rise since the start of Covid-19 pandemic and the demand persists even after the second wave has passed."

"As the possibility of a third wave looms, it becomes even more important to make quality healthcare accessible to people when they need it," added Dr Kuruvilla.

Published on July 31, 2021

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