Healthc Inform Res.  2020 Apr;26(2):153-158. 10.4258/hir.2020.26.2.153.

Doctor Consultation through Mobile Applications in India: An Overview, Challenges and the Way Forward

Affiliations
  • 0Department of Community and Family Medicine, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Patna,

Abstract

Objectives

To layout mHealth (mobile health) applications operating in India with the facility of either online doctor consultation or offline doctor appointment booking.

Methods

A cross-sectional, observational and web-based study was conducted. We searched the Google Play Store with the search strategy “health apps in India”. In the results, 250 applications (apps) appeared. Out of 250 apps, finally, 22 apps were found to be providing online doctor consultation and/or doctor appointment booking-related services.

Results

Among the selected mHealth apps operating in India and providing doctor consultation-related services online/offline, Practo, mfine, DocsApp, 1mg, Netmeds, Lybrate, MediBuddy, and Medlife were found to be the eight most popular ones with over a million downloads and on average four-plus user rating out of five. Practo, mfine, and Lybrate offer doctor consultation through chat, audio, and video calling. Netmeds and DocsApp offer doctor consultation through both chat and audio call. 1mg offers free chat consultation, while MediBuddy and Medlife offer audio call consultation only. Considering booking doctor appointments for offline consultation, Practo, mfine, 1mg, and Lybrate only offer this facility among the eight most popular selected mHealth apps.

Conclusions

mHealth apps providing doctor consultation are gaining popularity in India, and they have enormous potential in the country. The government should make enabling policies to facilitate and popularise mHealth apps.


Keyword

Telemedicine; Mobile Applications; Referral and Consultation; Appointments and Schedules; Delivery of Health Care
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