Online health consultations up three times during Covid-19: Practo-TSI report

Hemani Sheth Mumbai | Updated on December 21, 2020

Fastest-growing health concerns included ophthalmology, ENT, orthopedics, pediatrics, and gastroenterology

Online health consultations have increased significantly amid Covid-19, according to the ‘Rise of Telemedicine - 2020’ report by Telemedicine Society of India and Practo.

The report aims to track the rise in telemedicine amid the Covid-19 outbreak and to “recapitulate the key factors contributing to this spike and its long-term benefits”.

It is based on insights from users who were on Practo between March 2020 and November 2020.

As per the report, the number of people using online health consultations increased 3x between this period. Twenty six per cent of these consultations were with general practitioners, followed by Dermatology (20 per cent) and Gynecology (16 per cent), as per the report. Gastroenterology, ENT, and Pediatrics each accounted for 7 per cent of the consultations.

“The fastest-growing health concerns included ophthalmology, ENT, orthopedics, pediatrics, and gastroenterology,” as per the report.

Physical health appointments

Meanwhile, physical health appointments went down by 32 per cent during this period. Non-metros witnessed a 7x growth in online consultationscompared to the same period in 2019. Among metros, Chennai witnessed the highest growth of 4x compared to the previous year, while Bengaluru, Delhi-NCR, Mumbai, Pune, Hyderabad, and Kolkata grew by more than 300 per cent.

The platform also witnessed increased usage from elderly users and women.

“There was a 502 per cent spike in online consultations from people above the age of 50 during this crisis, who contributed to 12 per cent of overall consultations, as compared to just 5 per cent the previous year,” the report said.

‘Doc, you’re wanted online for consultation’

Online mental health consultations and queries also continued to rise during this period. There was a 302 per cent increase in overall mental health-related queries. Women contributed to 33 per cent to the overall queries for mental health specialists.

Col. (Dr.) Ashvini Goel, President, Telemedicine Society of India, said: “To witness the significant growth of telemedicine in the past few months has been overwhelming. In a short span of time, the digital health space has evolved and online consultations have become the spine of healthcare delivery systems globally. The pandemic has only allowed us to reiterate our vision for future healthcare that’s convenient, accessible, and affordable for a billion+ Indians.”

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Shashank ND, CEO & Co-Founder, Practo, said: “Our aim with this report is to ignite meaningful discussions around telemedicine as a critical first step towards establishing more collaborations among stakeholders, tied by a common commitment to one industry. We have tried to cover all aspects of the upward trajectory taken by telemedicine during the pandemic, and the direction it is expected to take in a world no longer under the threat of Covid-19 by carefully analysing data captured since the outbreak.”

Published on December 21, 2020

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