Post Date: October 27, 2014

Have you ever experienced some concerning symptoms, but instead of making an appointment to see your doctor you performed a Google search of your symptoms instead? Well, you aren’t alone, as numerous others have done this as well. Unfortunately, this has lead to paranoia and various people making self-diagnoses that are often inaccurate. In order to prevent Google searchers who seek information about certain symptoms that may be plaguing them, Google is currently experimenting with a new telemedicine system that can prevent both self-diagnosing and visits to the doctor.

This possible new system would connect Google searchers with a qualified physician for a web video chat session if the searcher has searched a health-related topic like “headaches” or “dizziness.” Helpouts is the service that will connect users to medical professional to assess their symptoms. This telemedicine service will work like this: you type in a Google search like “neck pain” and in addition to the regular search results, you will be given the option to click on a link that says “talk with a doctor now.”

This Google teleservice is currently in an experimental phase, as Google determines if this service will help to better educate users about their health, rather than assuming they have cancer when the problem is merely acid reflux syndrome. During the experimental stage, this teleservice is free for users, as Google is covering all costs. However, if it is determined that the service is beneficial and Google wishes to take the teleservice to the next step and make it permanent, then there will be a cost, which will be decided at the time. If necessary, payments can be conveniently made through the use of your Google Wallets account.

If you are worried about confidentiality and security, Google has that covered. Google has ensured that their medical assistance service is HIPAA compliant so you and other users can rest assured that private information is kept confidential. Google has partnered with experts Scripps Health and One Medical for this purpose.