India saw spike in online doctor consultations for covid symptoms: Practo study

The second wave and the subsequent lockdown saw more people opting for telemedicine as a primary mode of seeking medical care 

A report by Practo states that Indians consulted doctors 10x more times during the second wave (April-May 2021), as compared to pre-covid (January-February 2020). 

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), paediatrics (5 per cent). 

In this report, Practo draws a comparison between the use of telemedicine during the peaks in the first wave and the second wave of the pandemic. These insights into telemedicine usage patterns could be helpful as healthcare providers and officials make critical decisions to combat COVID-19.

While online consultations for these specialities grew by 30x between April and May 2021, they stood at 6x during the last peak with young Indians accounting for 50 per cent of all queries. 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 report also mentions a 2x increase in late-night consultations. Around 30 per cent of consultations were recorded between 11 pm to 6 am during the April-May 2021 period. Moreover, compared to the last peak, doctors have been doing 3x more consultations during this wave

10 per cent increase in online consultations among women as compared with the first wave. 35 per cent of all consultations were made by women. This is higher than the number of women consulting during the last peak when 25 per cent of all COVID-related consultations were initiated by women.

Metro cities including Bengaluru, Delhi-NCR, and Mumbai accounted for 46 per cent of all coronavirus-related consultations. 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. Here, cities like Jaipur, Lucknow, Bhopal, Kanpur, and Chandigarh led with a maximum number of consultations.


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