India is getting serious about healthcare: Practo Insights

Indians visited their doctors 3.2 times a year in 2018, up from 2.7 times in 2017. Out of the 7 metros, Bangaloreans visit the most at 4.8 times a year, while Delhites the least, at 3.8 times

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New Delhi: Practo, India’s largest digital healthcare platform, on 4th April released its third edition of India’s annual healthcare map, highlighting key consumer healthcare trends, concerns, and behaviour.

The healthcare map has been compiled from data of hundreds of thousands of searches and appointments, by over 13 crore patients, across 50+ cities and 250+ specialties, in 2018.

The report demonstrates the rise in adoption of digital healthcare in the country. With 65% of its population below the age of 35, India, at a median age of 29 years, is using digital technology to actively get in touch with doctors, using both online and offline channels. As India ages over the coming years, the company sees this number going up. Japan, for instance, at a median age of 47, visits doctors 13 times, while the US at a median age of 37, visits doctors a little over 4 times.

Practo believes three primary causes driving this trend include:

  1. Greater awareness: More information about diseases, illness from varied sources

  2. Increased accessibility: Ability to get in touch with doctors at the touch of a button

  3. Growth in lifestyle diseases, disorders like Diabetes, Obesity, deficiencies like Vitamin D, Calcium, to name a few

“Healthcare is slowly becoming a key priority for Indians. Improving doctor-patient ratio overnight is not possible, hence, it’s important to increase efficiencies, make it more accessible and affordable.” Organized Medicine Academic Guild feels that “as young India gets older, the need for medical supervision will only go up and Digital healthcare companies like Practo will play a huge role in that.”

A further breakdown into the above brought out the following interesting insights:

How Different Cities are faring, in terms of doctor visits:

  • Indians in Metros cities see their doctors 4.2 times a year, while, in non-metro cities, just 2 times!

  • In metros 1 out of 4 Indians visit their doctors more than 5 times a year, while in non-metros a mere 6% visit their doctors more than 5 times!

  • Amongst metros, Bangalore is the highest at 4.8 times, followed by Pune – 4.7, Chennai – 4.2, Kolkata – 4.2, Hyderabad – 4.1,  Mumbai – 3.9 and finally Delhi – 3.8

  • Amongst non-metros, Indore and Kanpur rank highest, where people were visiting their doctors 3.3 times in the year followed by Nagpur at 3.1 times

  • An average Indian visits 2 specialists in a year

  • Indians consult 2.6 times online; 2.7 times in Metros and 2.6 times in non-metros

Top Specialities and Ailments

  • Gynecologist: PCOD/PCOS, breast pain, urinary tract infection

  • Dermatologist: Psoriasis, fungal infection, chemical peels

  • Pediatrician: Head lice, asthma, ADHD

  • General Physician: Fever, stomach ache, cough and cold

  • Orthopedist: Lower back pain, knee pain, sciatica {Adults (usually between the ages 30 and 50) generally suffer from sciatica. Sedentary lifestyle, excessive smoking, diabetes, genetic predisposition, sustained periods of sitting or standing, bad posture, pregnancy, excessive wear and tear of the intervertebral disks including due to manual labor, sports activities, etc. are the major causes of sciatica in adults}

Rise of lifestyle related issues!

  • Visits to Rheumatologists increased by 53.8% indicating a rise in the incidents of arthritis related complications and gout

  • Endocrinologists saw 45.8% increase in patients suffering from hyperthyroidism, diabetes and hormonal imbalance

  • Diabetologist also witnessed a growth of 38% since last year

  • There was a rise of 55% in incidents being reported to Paediatricians for asthma. An acute rise in the pollution levels of the country could have been one of the primary causes of these incidents with children being highly vulnerable to respiratory ailments

  • Obesity was also amongst the top health issues in the country with a rise of 52% in doctor appointments. Major areas of concern for the patients included lifestyle modification and weight loss

  • The medicines ordered in the highest quantities online include

    • Shelcal, D Rise, Calcirol, and Uprise – all drugs that are used to treat calcium deficiency, vitamin D deficiency, osteoporosis, to name a few. The search volume for drugs prescribed for Vitamin D deficiency and osteoporosis increased by 127% and 114% respectively from 2017 to 2019. There has also been a 84.25% growth in Vitamin D profile tests and 75.71% in Calcium tests since last year

    • Huminsulin, Galvus, Eglucent, and Janumet – drugs used to treat Diabetes.  The search volume for drugs prescribed for diabetes also suggests the same; it has grown by 39% from 2017 to 2019.  The data suggest an increase in the number of diabetic patients as well as increased awareness about diabetes in the population.

Sexual Health and Online Consult

Registering a growth of 268% since last year, sexual health has been the top most concern for Teleconsult users in India, especially in Delhi, Bangalore and Mumbai. Furthermore, around 70% of all sexual health consultation requests came from patients under 30 years of age.

  • 43% of all consults come from women, while 57% from men

  • 76% of women who do sexual health consultations are under 30

  • 64% of men who do sexual health consultations are under 30

  • Sexual health constitutes 31.6% of total online consults that happened in India in 2018, while Dermatology at 17.1% stands as distant second: a difference of 84.6%!

  • Jaipur is fastest growing non metro city with 525% growth from 2017. Lucknow and Ahmedabad follow

For men across all age groups (from less than 30 to more than 50), sex-related queries, masturbation and erectile dysfunction were discussed majority of times. For women in the same age groups, queries regarding periods, pregnancy, breast cancer were discussed the most. Ongoing stress is one of the biggest culprits leading to irregular periods as well as erectile dysfunction in adults aged between 30 and 50. Other factors influencing erectile dysfunction and irregular menstrual periods include tobacco and alcohol use, obesity, chronic diseases such as hypertension and diabetes, etc.

Mental Health and Non Metros cities

While Mental health remained a widely ignored topic in our country since ages, a paradigm shift is being observed in this regards. According to the Practo Insights report, Indians outside of the 7 Metro cities are consulting specialists in these areas, more than ever before!

  • 82% increase was seen in the appointments with Psychologists, Psychiatrists and Psychotherapists in tier 2 cities, to consult for depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), marriage counselling stress, deaddiction and anger management among others

  • This also indicates the unhealthy lifestyle habits, long working hours and work-life imbalance taking a toll on people and their mental health


The Practo healthmap provides the most comprehensive healthcare report for India and highlights important ailments and consultation related trends in the country. The report is entirely based on anonymised actual patient actions (booking appointments) rather than surveys.