Talking tech since 2003

Call it a new spin on “Google Docs.”

This weekend, Engadget reported that Google has confirmed a new initiative that will allow users to video conference with doctors to determine diagnoses, essentially riding the line between faulty self-diagnosis and helping people figure out whether or not a trip to a physical doctor may be necessary.

GnXLSfFAccording to the post, along with the accompanying image on the right that was posted on imgur, searching for a medical diagnosis via Google will provide some users with a prompt to speak with an actual doctor via video chat. The text reads:

“Based on your search query, we think you are trying to understand a medical condition. Here you can find health care providers who you can visit with over video chat. All visit costs are covered by Google during this limited trial.”

Of course, as with most tech initiatives, not everyone will have access to this service while it’s in the testing phase. I just tried Googling some symptoms and was disappointed to merely get dispassionate links that I could click on. If you manage to find a link to this service, let us know about your experience.

There are other services out there that allow users to video chat with medical professionals – again, either in lieu of a physical visit, or possibly as the prelude to one. HealthTap, for instance, can also provide users with prescriptions for medications or have refills sent to pharmacies, along with providing referrals for specialists if needed.

While the advent of video chat is certainly a boon to those who may not live close to everyone with whom they need to communicate, it’s also important to note that there’s not much that can really substitute actually going to a doctor if you need one. However, this new service from Google looks like a great way for the search giant to leverage its expertise with data and communication and provide a really helpful service to its users. Perhaps Google will offer up more information on this service sometime this week when if it actually debuts its new Nexus devices and Android L. If it does, it’d be interesting to hear about pricing when the trial period ends.

[Source: Engadget]

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