Online doctor consultations on a high post demonetisation
Demonetization is a progressive boost to India, its businesses and its people in the long run. A more stringent series of actions are poised to be undertaken which could kill corruption up to 90 percent, curb black money menace and bring down inflation thereby helping every individual understand the value for money. The affordability to basic necessities like Healthcare, food and shelter will no more be a herculean task in India.
However, it is a temporary crisis to the citizens of the country viz. us. Standing in the queue at the ATM/Bank could be frustrating but as someone said 'Most of us would have stood in places of worship for hours to pray for our well-being. Why not wait in queue for the nation and our collective well-being for some time?'
The first step in embracing demonetization is to welcome 'digital evolution'. Ironically lots of us have embraced digital technology unknowingly but refuse do endorse it. For instance, usage of what’s app is the most popular mode of communication and if the same audience can use technology for daily utilities, it can make everyone’s life so easier.
What we have to understand is that going one extra step from here would help ease the queue in the ATMs/bank. We do not need much cash to survive at all. Also by not standing in the queue, it would help less privileged who do not have a mobile phone or internet but survive only with cash.
How do people use digital mode to run their livelihood? For instance Digital wallets like PayTM, Freecharge, Mobikwik can be used for offline purchases, e-commerce platforms like Flipkart and Amazon to buy things online. To commute in the city, there is Ola and Uber. There was one proposition which was missing in the list of essential services viz. consulting doctors which can be achieved through 'online doctor consultation' platforms.
One can save their time and travel through online doctor consultation which is a way of consulting doctor digitally and in the form of telemedicine. The general practice now should be to save cash and use only for essential services. With this form of treatment, one need not travel and access doctors through their phone/laptop from their home/office. A lot of money is saved on travel potentially saving cash and digital money as well. Almost 80 percent of health issues can be solved online and online doctor consultation is mitigation to real time treatment. The adoption ratio for this form of treatment has always been steep during moments of crisis and once people understand how effective it is, they continue to use it at all times, good or bad it is. For example: We have seen people using iCliniq from war stricken Yemen (of course they had patchy internet) and we were able to provide a positive solution to the patients.
One has no inhibitions when typing their health issues to a doctor and we noticed that people share more information in an online doctor consultation platform. We have seen a jump of 270 percent in patient growth after November 8th from India. Normally we get around 350 new patient registrations per day from India. And in this past 12 days, the surge has mounted to 943 patients on an average every day.
The number of consults from India has increased 2.25 times cumulatively from November 8th. We have seen an unusual increase in consults in Pediatrics, Internal medicine and Psychiatry in this time frame. It is because of the cash crunch and people are looking at various alternate approaches to meet a doctor and on iCliniq one can pay digitally (through payment credit cards/debit cards/net-banking and also PayTM).
Adding to the above reasons, the survey which we did with our patients who came on iCliniq after demonetization, their primary reason was that "They did not go to meet doctors as most of the doctors accept only cash as a payment and in addition to it, they wanted to save money on travel."
About the author:
The article has been authored by Dhruv Suyamprakasam, Founder and CEO of iCliniq, based on his personal experience and research.