Practo Insights: Online Consultations Surge 4x since the pandemic

This World Health Day, Practo, India’s leading integrated healthcare company unveils significant insights into the shifting trends in patient behavior and doctor accessibility towards online consultations since the pandemic (Timeline: 2019 to 2023). A prominent finding was a fourfold increase in online consultations on its platform since the pandemic (2019* vs 2023**). This substantiates industry reports on the growing acceptance of online consultations across the country from 0.55 million in 2019 to an impressive 2.4 million in 2023.

Deep diving into this trend revealed that, Tier 1 cities account for a majority of online consultations attributed at 72% which have grown by 6x since 2019.

  • Tier 2 cities contributes 12% 
  • Rest of India contributes 16%

The preference for video consultations has also grown dramatically. In 2019*, only 20% of online consultations were conducted via video, compared to 90% in 2023**. Additionally, patients are not only utilizing online consultations more frequently, but also demonstrating a heightened focus on their health. The average number of consultations per user, per year has  increased from 2.0 in 2019 to 3.2 in 2023.

As patient’s embrace digital health, they are also actively seeking consultations with experienced doctors for their needs.  Appointments with doctors with 15+ years of experience have increased from 53% in 2017 to 77% in 2023**. Additionally during this period the Top Specialties with maximum consultations include:

  • General Physician
  • Dermatology
  • Gynaecology
  • Pediatrics
  • Ear, Nose, and Throat (ENT)

And the Emerging Specialties witnessing maximum growth from 2019* to 2023** are:

  • Eye & Vision, where consultations have soared by over 1332%,
  • Paediatrics consultations have soared by 1203% and,
  • Orthopaedic consultations have increased by 896%

Talking about the rise in digital healthcare, Dr Alexander Kuruvilla, Chief Health Strategy Officer, Practo said,With the increasing penetration of smartphones and declining data prices, digital platforms have become instrumental in bridging existing gaps in the healthcare ecosystem. And we have seen growing acceptance for online consultations from both patients and healthcare professionals. As we continue to strengthen our network, we at Practo are committed to working with the healthcare community to further enhance users’ healthcare experience and improve access to quality healthcare services to all.

Dr. Manoj A G, Consultant Physician on Practo, said “Over the years, I have witnessed a significant acceptance for online consultations by patients. And this surge in online consultations signals a broader acceptance of technology in healthcare, enhancing patient experiences and outcomes. The easy accessibility to healthcare via telemedicine is making it a go-to option for several patients for their urgent healthcare needs. This is a reflection of the growing confidence in the quality of online consultations.”

Overall, this surge in consultations can also be attributed to the enhanced accessibility of doctors across the nation. Practo’s insights indicate a 44% expansion of its network since 2019, covering a wide range of 4500+ pincodes.

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