Google is testing a new program that could completely revolutionize the world of medicine. The internet has always been a place that many have gone to seek out, first hand, quick information regarding their health. Additionally, users have flocked to the internet to gain information about diseases, illnesses, or sicknesses – and even sought out other feedback from individuals with the same ailments.
That being said, not all of the information an individual gathers online regarding an illness is necessarily good knowledge. The new program though that Google is testing looks to change the medical world entirely by connecting people who are searching for health conditions, or an ailment, with a doctor over video chat.
First, the program was revealed via screenshot on Reddit, but it was later confirmed by Google to be legitimate. In a statement, the company said regarding the program “When you’re searching for basic health information – from conditions like insomnia or food poisoning – our goal is provide you with the most helpful information available.”
The end goal is to provide something to users that is actually useful, and to begin getting away from encyclopedia type medical services which currently exist online. Little information can be gained from reading a medical manual when you have limited knowledge on medical conditions or the biology of the human body.
Additional reports suggest that the service is tied to, or related in some way to Helpouts. Helpouts is a marketplace where “experts” charge for various level of lessons, advice, or assistance over video chat. However, with programs like this there is always cost and a certain level of expertise that is expected if it’s going to be taken seriously by a wide range of people.
That being said, though Google declined to comment any further on the matter, the program raises serious questions about the medical industry. Specifically, it raises questions about peoples ability to get medical attention even if they’re uninsured, or don’t have the excessive money available to treat the illness.
The impacts of a program like this could be profound. It could improve medical conditions and standards here in the United States, and it could also go a long way to beginning to help and treat those in developing countries. Technology like this has existed for years in use through the military, and more developed medical programs that the United States implements in Africa, or the Middle East.