With doctors and hospitals offering telemedicine services to ensure social distancing in the wake of the coronavirus crisis, a significant jump has been recorded in the number of Indians who are consulting doctors online.
In fact, digital health portal Practo has seen the highest jump in online consultation in the field of gynaecology. There has been a 250 per cent rise in online consultation, they stated in a release, now that many routine gynaecology and prenatal care appointments have turned into virtual visits.
Telemedicine practices started soon after the lockdown to ensure patients get due medical attention, via video calling or the phone. Lav Aggarwal, joint secretray at the Health Ministry also urged health professionals and patients to avail the service, efficient for “regular, routine check-ups or continuous monitoring”, as mentioned in the official Telemedicine Practice Guidelines released by the ministry.
“Telemedicine is making a very positive contribution to healthcare during the pandemic, and is being used by the people not just for coronavirus related queries but also for other medical conditions. This helps them receive proper medical care from their homes without having to visit hospitals and thereby minimising their risk of contracting the virus. Telemedicine ensures that doctors are available 24*7 for people so that they receive timely medical attention. We are helping more and more doctors to help consult their patients online, also ensuring there is no disruption in access to quality healthcare for patients,” Dr Alexander Kuruvilla, chief healthcare strategy officer, Practo, said in a statement.
According to the report, one in three consults that came from women since the coronavirus outbreak were for gynaecology-related issues. Some of the common health issues for which women have been reaching out to gynaecologists with queries comprise “unanticipated irregularity in periods” and “how expectant mothers can have a safe pregnancy”. Other top queries include “period problems, pregnancy complications during coronavirus, birth control techniques, and miscarriage.”
Most queries that came in were from people in the age group of 21-30, followed by those between 31 and 40 years old. The portal also saw a rise in the number of women, aged 60 and above, consulting gynaecologists online.
“We have been receiving a lot of queries online in the last few days owing to increased awareness on telemedicine amidst the Covid-19 crisis and lockdown. In difficult times like these, Digital healthcare has played a significant role in improving the overall experience of the patients in terms of accessibility, quality, convenience, and especially trust,” Dr Vanita Vaishnav, obstetrician and gynaecologist, Bengaluru, was quoted as saying.
Of the consults, 50 per cent came from tier 1 cities — Bengaluru, followed by Delhi NCR, Pune, Mumbai, Hyderabad and Chennai — while 50 per cent came from tier 2 cities, including Ahmedabad, Jaipur, Bhubaneshwar and Mysore.
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