More than 50 per cent of online consultations were for pulmonology and general physician for queries related to COVID-19 and seasonal flu, a survey by Practo revealed. Health experts said the public is scared to visit hospitals and prefer online consultation in anticipation of the next wave.
In the span of April and May, 10 times more people conducted doctors online as compared to pre-COVID times, the survey concluded. People in the age group of 21-30 years comprised 50 per cent of the overall online consultations, followed by 22 per cent of those between 31 and 40 years and 13 per cent of senior citizens.
“The number of online consultations increased drastically during the peak of the second wave. We treated patients free of cost at that time. People were scared to visit healthcare centres for fever and diabetes,” Dr Narendra Nath Jena of Meenakshi Mission Hospital and Research Centre, Madurai.
Though the second wave has waned and hospitals are seeing non-COVID patients now, a portion of the crowd still prefers online consultations.
“We have not seen a dip in the number of online consultations since the second wave began,” said Arivu Arasi, founder of Sixty Plus, a virtual care company.