Pandemic sees rise in online consultations; users mostly women, young adults

The data also showed that people between the ages 25-45 majorly booked consultations for their kids or for issues related to sexual or mental health.
Image used for illustrative purposes only.
Image used for illustrative purposes only.

NEW DELHI: The Covid pandemic saw a rapid rise in online consultations in India, mostly among women, with over 65 per cent of them opting for this quick and easy way to meet their urgent medical needs, a new survey has said.

After women, it was young adults, below 25, who wanted guidance about their sexual-related health problems, said the survey, which was conducted from data collated from 111 million interactions that happened between users and doctors on the Lybrate platform, a healthcare digital platform, in 2022.

The survey also found that online consultations have jumped by 87 per cent in tier-II and tier-III cities like Jaipur, Ahmedabad, and Lucknow, while metro cities witnessed a 75 per cent increase in the same period.

"The last two years have seen a rapid increase in online doctor consultations. Telemedicine has given patients more accessible access to primary health care," the study said

Online appointments by women grew over 65 per cent in 2022 as compared to 2021, the study said, adding that most women consulted specialities including gastroenterologists and ENT, which grew by over 150 per cent

This was followed by dermatologists and internal medicine, which grew by 125 per cent, psychiatry and paediatrics by 110 per cent each and gynaecology consultations grew by 100 per cent in 2022, the study said.

The study said young adults under 25 are more curious about sexual health-related guidance and many of them posted queries on the platform, including on masturbation addiction, STDs, pregnancy and Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), a common condition that affects hormones, and causes irregular menstrual periods, excess hair growth, acne and infertility.

The data also showed that people between the ages of 25-45 majorly booked consultations for their kids or for issues related to sexual or mental health. Those above 45 years primarily seek consultations on chronic conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, post-Covid-19 complications and thyroid-related ailments.

Some of the highest searched keywords among men across age groups were masturbation addiction, penile enlargement and erectile dysfunction, the study added.

Meanwhile, PCOS, healthy pregnancy and irregular periods were the highest searched keywords among women across India.

Harsimarbir Singh, co-founder of Pristyn Care, said, "The pandemic has brought a massive shift in patient behaviour, especially most of them seeking medical consultations and communicating with doctors online and offline."

"We are not only witnessing a great demand for online consultations, but offline consultations have also jumped and have shown two times growth over the past year. It is encouraging to see that Indians are becoming more and more health conscious," he said. 

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The New Indian Express