Online doctor consultations: Are they here to stay?
May 23rd, 2023, Janice Fernandes

Online doctor consultations: Are they here to stay?

From shopping and fitness to doctor consultations, people adapted to the pandemic's restrictions by embracing new digital alternatives to traditional activities. Some even continue these virtual interactions post-pandemic.

Data from a recent YouGov survey, focused on 18 international markets, shows that nearly two in ten global respondents (18%) continue online doctor consultations even after restrictions have been lifted.

Streaming services experienced a huge surge in demand during the pandemic, with 39% of respondents continuing to watch online entertainment – the highest share of respondents who continue to do remote activities started during the pandemic. Shopping registers more than a third of global respondents (37%).

Other categories include online learning (26%), virtual fitness classes (17%), virtual events (11%), and online dating (7%).

Taking a closer look at our global respondents who indicate that they have continued with remote doctor consultations, both by age demographics and by country.

According to the data, switching to online doctor consultations has been a lasting lifestyle change for nearly two in ten consumers across all age groups, with consumers aged between 35 to 44 years slightly more likely to say they continue consulting with their doctor via video calls (19%).

Spain (30%) and Poland (29%) have the highest percentage of respondents who started online doctor consultations during lockdown and continue them now. Fewer Britons (20%) say they have continued with online visits post-pandemic. However, consumers in the other European countries surveyed are not as comfortable with telehealth as even Brits, with Germany and Denmark registering some of the lowest figures (8% and 11% respectively).

Over a quarter of Canadians (28%) say they started contacting their doctor online during the pandemic and continue to do so even now. Americans are not as likely to say the same, with slightly fewer than one in five (19%) continuing this activity. Urban Mexicans are further behind with 15% continuing online doctor consultations.

In the APAC region, Australia is among the top four markets surveyed with 25% of respondents continuing online checkups. Around two in ten Indians (21%) say the same, but the percentage drops in the rest of the markets in this region – Indonesia (17%), Hong Kong (12%), Singapore (12%) and China (11%).

Consumers in the UAE are as likely as the global average (18%) to continue their virtual health appointments.

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Methodology: YouGov Surveys: Serviced provide quick survey results from nationally representative or targeted audiences in multiple markets. The data is based on surveys of adults aged 18+ years in 18 markets with sample sizes varying between 512 and 2007 for each market. All surveys were conducted online in March 2023. Data from each market uses a nationally representative sample apart from Mexico and India, which use urban representative samples, and Indonesia and Hong Kong, which use online representative samples. Learn more about YouGov Surveys: Serviced.

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