Pre-COVID only 20% of online consults were via video, now 90%: Practo Insights

As the global healthcare landscape continues to evolve, Practo, a leading integrated healthcare company, unveils significant insights into the shifting trends in patient behaviour and doctor accessibility towards online consultations since the pandemic. 

Key Findings:

Online Consultation Surge: According to reports, the number of users seeking online consultations in India has experienced a substantial surge, the figure rose significantly from 0.55 million in 2019 to an impressive 2.4 million in 2023. Projections indicate that this trend is set to continue, reaching an estimated 3.05 million by 2028. Practo’s insights substantiate this by showcasing a four fold increase in online consultations on its platform since the pandemic (2019* vs 2023**)

  • Tier 1 Cities Lead the Charge: The lion’s share of online consultations is attributed to Tier 1 cities at 72% which have grown by over 6x since 2019, underlining their pivotal role in driving the adoption of digital healthcare services
    • Tier 2 cities contribute 12% of consultations
    • Rest of India contributes 16% of consultations
  • In 2019*, 2 out of 10 of these online consultations were video consults vs in 2023**, 9 out of 10 consults were video consults  

Peak of Covid Impact: During the peak of the Covid crisis, which coincided with the second wave in 2021, online consultations accounted for a significant 24% of total consultations, underscoring the pivotal role of telemedicine in ensuring continued access to healthcare

Post-Pandemic Consultation Trends: Post-pandemic, patients are exhibiting a more proactive approach towards healthcare, with the average number of consultations per year, per users surging from 2.0 to 3.2 in (2019* vs 2023**)

  • In the same period, female consultations increased from 1.9 to 2.8, while male consultations rose from 2.0 to 3.5 per 100 users per year.

Top Specialties in 2023: The most sought-after specialties in 2023 included General Physician, Dermatology, Gynaecology, Pediatrics, and Ear, Nose, and Throat (ENT), reflecting the diverse healthcare needs of patients accessing online consultations.

Emerging Specialties Witness Exponential Growth: The following specialties have experienced extraordinary surges from 2019* vs 2023**:

  • Eye & Vision consultations soared by over 1332%
  • Paediatrics by 1203% 
  • Orthopaedic by 896%

Demand for Experienced Doctors: With increased access to healthcare, patients are increasingly seeking highly experienced doctors for their medical needs. Insights reveal a significant uptick in appointments with doctors with 15+ years of experience, from 53% in 2017 to 77% in 2023**.

Increased Doctor Availability: There was a 20% increase in doctor availability during lean hours (midnight to 08:00) from 2022*** to 2023**.

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.”

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.

Published on FebruarY 27, 2024


Practo is on a mission to make quality healthcare affordable and accessible for over a billion+ Indians. India’s leading integrated healthcare company it connects the entire healthcare ecosystem together – including patients, doctors, surgeons, clinics, hospitals, pharmacies, and diagnostics – to generate exceptional value and service for all, especially the end consumers.

As technology becomes an integral part of healthcare, Practo has also become an essential enabler in helping doctors understand the nuances of managing and securely storing all health data. Practo encrypts all data with 256-bit encryption, uses HIPAA-compliant data centers, and is one of the few healthcare companies to be ISO 27001 certified. Practo is present in 20+ countries, helping over 30 crore patients, by connecting them with 1 lakh+ verified doctor partners.

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