Google search wants to help people book doctors’ appointments


The company hopes to shorten wait times for getting medical attention, but users still will need to make appointments with medical professionals separate from the search platform, a Google representative said in a briefing. — Photo by Firmbee.com on Unsplash

Google wants its search engine to be a gateway to help users book appointments with doctors – the latest step in the company’s winding effort to play a larger role in health care.

“Whether you put off your annual checkup, recently moved and need a new doctor, or are looking for a same-day visit to a MinuteClinic at CVS, you might see available appointment dates and times for doctors in your area,” Karen DeSalvo, Google’s chief health officer, wrote Thursday in a blog post.

The company hopes to shorten wait times for getting medical attention, but users still will need to make appointments with medical professionals separate from the search platform, a Google representative said in a briefing.

The tech giant is sometimes nicknamed “Dr. Google” because users around the world seek information about their health through the search engine. Still, the company’s ambition to play a larger role in the sector has gone through fits and starts.

In August, the Alphabet Inc-owned company shuttered its standalone health division and integrated those various teams into other business units. To critics, it looked like a concession, but the company said it’s trying to leverage the reach of services like search and YouTube to expand health care features and improve information quality.

At an event called “The Check Up” on March 24, Google also plans to announce research into using smartphone cameras to detect some eye diseases, having phone microphones pick up irregular heartbeats and a plan to bring more accurate local health information to Japanese, Brazilian and Indian users. – Bloomberg

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