World’s most powerful search engine teamed up with Mayo Clinic to ensure your Internet doctor serves you facts, instead of some doubtful interpretations from unverified sources. Google hopes their new project will be especially beneficial for many people in developing countries who don’t have an easy access to medical care.
For most of us the Internet has become the authority for any inquiry we might have about health-related issues. Apparently, one in twenty Google searches these days is health-related. More often than not, the results we are getting from online sources are disappointing.
Folks from Google recognized this problem and they decided to join forces with Minnesota-based Mayo Clinic, a non-profit medical organization, to provide information from the most reliable sources. Data will be displayed in a Knowledge Graph, on top of other search results (mobile version), or on the right side of your screen (desktop version).
All information found there will be verified by medical professionals at both of these institutions. By an average, each information will be reviewed by 11 physicians. You’ll get the facts about typical symptoms and available treatments, along with other relevant information pertaining to a particular health condition. So far they have prepared a database of 400 common medical terms, which will be accompanied by high-quality professional illustrations.
Google wants to make sure that in no way the search results are to be interpreted as medical advice. Instead, they emphasize, they want to facilitate educated conversation with your doctor, to know what to ask them and to better understand what has been said to you. We are the best connoisseurs of our own bodies. With the exception of hypochondriac types, thanks to these services, we’ll be able to rationally interpret symptoms of a suspected medical condition, monitor its development, and make an educated decision on the course of our actions.
Google’s idea is not entirely new. There are already several other companies, like LifeHealthOnline, American Well, and HealthTap, that dispose of a network of doctors available online for any health-related inquiries you might have.
Apart from their question and answer webpage, HealthTap has a Prime service, where you can text or video conference with a doctor at any time. Within minutes of pushing the button, one of several thousand doctors across the US will get in touch with you. Of course, you can choose the one you prefer, and rate their services. Such convenience will cost you $99 a month in addition to regular insurance payments.
For many minor health-related issues, telemedicine provides safe shortcuts to the health care. It saves time, helps repel our anxieties, and cut costs related to visiting a doctor’s office. It is especially attractive to the caregivers, people with chronic conditions, pregnant women and parents of young children who prefer to avoid dragging their children to the doctor’s office at each occurrence of fever and puking.