Google Testing Telehealth Search-Based Pilot Program

Google has begun piloting a new search feature that offers live video chats with physicians for consumers researching some medical conditions. The Washington Post is reporting Google has begun partnering with providers to test this new telehealth program. In Monday’s article, The Switch, the Post writes Google confirmed it’s running the program on a limited trial basis, working with Scripps Health and several other teleheath service providers.

Under the pilot, consumers using Google to search on information for a particular symptom or medical condition will be able to select an option to video chat in real time with a physician. According to the Post’s article, not every medical condition search will result with a chat option and some searches may result in a scheduled chat session versus live. The Post also writes:

During the trial period, Google is covering all the costs of the online consultations. A reddit user first brought attention to the feature — part of Google’s general advice service, Helpouts — in a post showing Google offering a video chat option for his search on “knee pain.”

Google confirmed the pilot program in a statement. “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,” according to a Google spokeswoman. “We’re trying this new feature to see if it’s useful to people.”