Indians are not only using healthcare-related apps more frequently but also spending a lot more time on them. For instance, the time spent on Practo and online medicine retail chain MedPlus climbed around 200% during April.

Besides these Indian platforms, doctors from across the world are coming to the rescue. The British Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (BAPIO) formed a telemedicine virtual hub to extend help to their “exhausted and over-stretched colleagues in India,” secretary Parag Singhal said. Indian American doctors have also launched a similar service.

However, considering that many Indians still don’t have access to the internet and don’t own devices, these services are not of help to the masses. The lack of working knowledge of English is another hurdle for many. “About 90% of new internet users in India are regional language speakers. English-first digital platforms, however innovative, don’t solve the problem for them,” Kalagato’s report said.

Some Indian players are taking steps to bridge this gap.

In early April, Practo launched support in 15 Indian regional languages. Boston-based physician Dolly Arjun set up a telehealth helpline specifically for the less privileged indigenous tribes and Dalits where she has lined up local language translators for patients in India. Additionally, the phone has been ringing off the hook for BigOHealth, a Hindi-language app targeted towards rural India, which was largely unscathed during the first wave but has been hit hard by the second.

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