An increasing number of medical establishments adopted the practice of telemedicine in India amid the sense of urgency created by the COVID-19 pandemic, says a new report.
Titled Rise of Telemedicine – 2020, a joint collaboration of Telemedicine Society of India and Practo, it was recently launched at Telemedicon 2020.
According to the report, while physical appointments went down by 32 per cent, a three times increase was seen in the number of people using online consultations, including 26 per cent with general practitioners, 20 per cent in dermatology, 16 per cent in gynecology and seven per cent with others like gastroenterology, ENT, and pediatrics.
The report further said that metros like Delhi, Mumbai, and Chennai saw an average of 16x growth in queries for ENT specialisation while non-metros saw the highest growth — of seven times — in online consultations, as compared to the same period in the previous year.
Notably, more elderly people were now reported getting used to technology.
There was a 502 per cent spike in online consultations from people above the age of 50 during this crisis, which contributed to 12 per cent of overall consultations, as compared to just five per cent the previous year.
The report has been culled from the experience of Practo app users between March 2020 and November 2020.
Interestingly, more women opted for such consultations with men:women ratio at 68:32 as compared to 75:25 last year.
Gyneacologists and general practitioners were two of the most consulted specialists by women.
The report also highlighted out how late-night consultations saw an increase of 25 per cent owing to work responsibilities during the day.
Recapitulating the key factors contributing to the rise of telemedicine and its long-term benefits, Colonel (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,” he said.