The Search Engine Giant of Google is at it again, running a trial experiment of a new type of video chat platform which will help put patients in touch with potential doctors and medical specialists online. If all goes according to plan, soon we will be able to seek medical advice and consultations while in the comfort of our own homes.
The new feature is part of a Google+ Helpouts collaboration that was first launched over a year ago, and it is already showing some rather significant signs of success. Patients are finding quick answers to basic medical questions through the use of their smartphones, tablets, and laptops, issues such as the treating of insomnia or the symptoms of food poisoning.
“We’re trying this new feature to see if it’s useful to people,” says a Google spokesperson on the Computerworld website.
The new Helpouts feature works with the normal search engine queries that are typed into the Google web browser by inquiring patients. For example, when someone types in “shoulder injury”, a video chat link would be included in the search engine results that would allow the person to connect with an established medical professional who is an active member of the Helpouts program.
Why is Google suddenly interested in medical advice and counseling? Because video counseling by medical doctors has been on the rise since 2012, increasing some 400% in the last 2 years alone. In the US and Canada, some 75 million doctors appointments are now taking place online via video chat technology.
This is great news for both patients and physicians alike. Doctors can see more patients in less time, and the Baby Boomer generation can fulfill its need for nearly instant gratification regarding medical advice, and forego those long waiting room visits that often keep us from seeking the advice of a doctor in the first place.