Telemedicine Society of India & Practo launch ‘Rise of Telemedicine 2020’ report

A joint collaboration with the Telemedicine Society of India (TSI), the report highlights the emergence of telemedicine in India, the reasons behind its meteoric rise amid the pandemic, and the advantages it can continue to offer in a post-COVID world

New Delhi: The sense of urgency created by the COVID-19 pandemic has spurred medical establishments to overhaul their healthcare delivery systems in pursuit of maximizing patient care and minimizing the risk of infection. This accelerated the adoption of telemedicine practices in India, effectively mitigating the impact of the pandemic while laying the foundation for an innovation-led, patient-centric healthcare system in a post-COVID world.
By tracing the trajectory of the meteoric rise of telemedicine in India since the outbreak, this report by Practo and Telemedicine Society of India (TSI), launched at Telemedicon 2020,  has attempted to recapitulate the key factors contributing to this spike and its long-term benefits. The report was launched by Col. (Dr.) Ashvini Goel, President, Telemedicine Society of India (TSI) in the presence of industry leaders – Dr. Alok Roy, Co-Chair, FICCI Health Services Committee and Chairman, Medica Group of Hospitals, Dr. Girdhar Gyani, Director-General, Association of Healthcare Providers (India), Dr. Vijay Agarwal, President, Consortium of Accredited Healthcare Organizations (CAHO)
Commenting on the report, Col. (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 billion+ Indians.”
Adding to that, Dr Alok Roy, Co-Chair, FICCI Health Services Committee and Chairman, Medica Group of Hospitals, said, “TSI-Practo telemedicine report is like the Harry Potter magic portal, showing both current and future realities; a step in the right direction will transform the way healthcare is accessed forever.”
Extensively researched and backed by insights culled from the experience of crores of Indians who used Practo between March 2020 and November 2020, this report provides valuable information and factual evidence for all stakeholders of the healthcare ecosystem seeking to understand the role and impact of telemedicine in India.
Shashank ND, CEO & Co-Founder, Practo, said, “Our aim with this report is to ignite meaningful discussions around telemedicine as a critical first step towards establishing more collaborations among stakeholders, tied by a common commitment to one industry. We have tried to cover all aspects of the upward trajectory taken by telemedicine during the pandemic, and the direction it is expected to take in a world no longer under the threat of COVID-19 by carefully analyzing data captured since the outbreak.”
Key insights from the report:
Physical appointments went down by 32%
    • Visits to secondary care specialists like neurosurgeon, somnologist, cardiologist, and oncologist grew dramatically
  • 3x increase in the number of people using online consultations
    • 26% of the consultations were with GPs, followed by Dermatology (20%) and Gynecology (16%) and others like Gastroenterology, ENT, and Pediatrics stood at 7% each
    • The fastest-growing health concerns included ophthalmology, ENT, orthopedics, pediatrics, and gastroenterology
    • Delhi, Mumbai, and Chennai saw an average of 16x growth in queries for ENT specialization
  • Non-metros saw the highest growth of 7x in online consultations, as compared to the same period in the previous year
    • During the same period last year, the split between metro:non-metro for online consultations stood at 75:25. This year, it is 60:40, demonstrating that the number of online consultations from non-metro cities is on the rise
    • Tier 2+ cities like Manjeri, Arrah, Balasore, Etah, Orai, Khopoli, Jagtial, and Shivpuri used  telemedicine for the first time in this time period
    • Cities like Meerut, Jammu, Srinagar, Nellore, Kochi, Gorakhpur, Kakinada, Tirupati, Bhagalpur, Gaya, and Shimoga recorded a 10x growth
  • Among metros, Chennai witnessed the highest growth of 4x as compared to the previous year
    • Bengaluru, Delhi-NCR, Mumbai, Pune, Hyderabad, and Kolkata grew by more than 300% as compared to last year
  • More and more elderly people are now getting used to technology
    • There was a 502% spike in online consultations from people above the age of 50 during this crisis, who contributed to 12% of overall consultations, as compared to just 5% the previous year
  • More women are going online
    • Last year the men:women ratio stood at 75:25, while this year it’s 68:32
    • Gynecologists and General Physicians were two of the most consulted specialists by women in 2020
  • Online mental health consultations and queries continued to rise during this period
    • There was a 302% increase in overall mental health-related queries
    • Women contributed to 33% of overall queries for mental health specialists
  • More consultations at late hours
    • 25% of online consultations were recorded between 10 pm and 4 am when people are not burdened with work responsibilities
    • One of the top specialties consulted during late-night hours was Psychiatry
  • Preferred day(s) to consult doctors online were Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Saturdays, and Sundays, while Saturdays, Sundays, and Mondays were preferred for in-person appointments