How Practo Brought Telemedicine To India During The COVID-19 Pandemic

Shashank ND and Abhinav Lal founded India-based healthtech platform, Practo in 2007 when they were just engineering students. The platform, which was built on the tenets of access, affordability, safety, and privacy, has since evolved from a SaaS platform into a healthcare ecosystem that’s become responsible for the wellbeing of millions of Indians.

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Practo offers access to specialists across all specializations on its platform in less than a minute and is available to use at any time of the day or night. Today, it maps the entire journey of a patient, right from booking an appointment, finding a lab, getting a second opinion, patient experience feedback, medicine reminders, and delivering medicine to a person’s doorstep.

Though, when the company was first established, digital healthcare was largely non-existent in India. Before the pandemic, Practo was one of the only telemedicine solutions available in India. However, over the last nine months, things have drastically changed.

In March, Quarts reported that the number of patients looking for teleconsultations on Practo had tripled from around 30 cases per doctor on a usual day. Queries regarding fever, cough, cold, sore throat, and body ache increased by 200% during the time. Five months later, LiveMint reported that the growth in teleconsultations went up by 10 times that.

“This means that what was considered a luxury just a few months ago, has become a necessity today,” Co-Founder and CEO Shashank ND said. “About 80% of all our telemedicine customers were first-time users, while approximately 50% consultations were from non-metro cities. There are now over 25,000 verified doctors who provide online consultations on Practo. This is indicative of growth to the tune of over 1000% in just four months.”

Essentially, Practo is accounting for the health and wellness—or at least playing a pivotal role in directing concerns and care—of millions of Indians every single day.

In August, Practo launched its “India Health Hour” initiative, a free online telemedicine solution for patients seeking quality care in times of pandemic. The program went live every day between 5pm and 6pm on the Practo website and app.

Since its launch, Practo has gained over 180 million users and enables 10 million hours of doctor consultation per month. The platform has over 76,000 clinics and hospital partners. The next step for the company is to expand beyond the 50 cities on the platform and capture an additional 200 million customers.

Encumbered by an extended lockdown, millions of Indians are seeking solutions to access quality healthcare remotely. Technology has made it possible for people to access healthcare without having to travel or risking a potential exposure to infection. Practo is leading the way of a healthcare evolution in the country and shows no signs of slowing down.