Google is making headways again, as it plans to test a service which could change the future of healthcare in a significant manner. It could help numerous online searchers interested in health information in a truly unique manner. Healthcare will be drastically different, and hopefully for the better, when Google launches a test period for a new telemedicine feature which will be part of health-related Google searches. This is how it will work:
When individuals go online and perform a Google search for a health-related condition such as “knee pain” or “backaches,” they will be presented with the option to speak with a medical professional. If the user chooses to do so, then they can discuss the symptoms that they searched as well as any accompanying symptoms with a licensed physician, and the physician can provide a preliminary diagnosis and advise him or her to seek further medical attention, if he or she sees fit.
The purpose of this test period is to determine if speaking with a physician through a special web service would be helpful and prevent people from worrying needlessly and inaccurately diagnosing themselves after reading sites regarding their symptoms. Perhaps if a medical professional could lead them towards a more accurate diagnosis, then fewer people would panic and wrongly believe that they suffer from potentially lethal diseases when they may really only suffer from minor conditions or an injury.
If it is determined that this telemedicine service is, in fact, useful, then Google will make it permanent following the test period. There will be a fee if the service becomes permanent, which can be paid using Google Wallet. However, during the experimental stage the service will be completely free, which can benefit over 1 million online searchers.
Google will connect users with doctors through Helpouts, a live video chat system. All HIPAA standards will be adhered to, as Google has taken special precautions to ensure that all sessions are 100% confidential.