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Indians are turning to the ever-present smartphones to get healthcare advice on common pains and ailments right from tooth aches and migraine to plastic surgery. The users are downloading on an increasing rate, specific health care apps which give advice on demand directly from qualified doctors
With the increased reliance of users on their phones for health-related advice, a growing market for start-ups for the development of such apps has being created.
Such ventures are now seen as an excellent alternative to the low quality of healthcare provided in small cities and towns. PricewaterhouseCoopers, a consulting firm, stated that for every thousand Indians, there are only 59 doctors, which is the lowest figure in emerging countries.
However, the country holds the second position in adopting health care services through mobile phones. The reason for the popularity of these services is the simplicity of the process. Users can save a lot of time and access health care service any time they wish to.
With the potential for a lot of start-ups in this space, IAMAI (Internet and Mobile Association of India) estimates a Rs. 1,804 crore growth for the mobile applications industry in the country this year.
A web-based health care service Healthcare Magic, where queries relating to diseases can be posted and advice can be obtained from doctors of user's choice, was started three years ago.
A free Android app was launched by the company around six months back and an iOS app will be released in time for Christmas. A quarter of the 65,000 daily users of the service uses mobile phones to access the services. More than ten thousand downloads of the company's Android app has already taken place. MediAngels and eHealth Access are other such web-based startups dealing in mobile-based healthcare apps.