Doctor Google: High-quality medical data now included in health search results
With the rise of the internet and technologies like smartphones and tablets, society has become accustomed to having a world of information at our fingertips. We take comfort in knowing that the answers to all of our questions are just a few clicks away.
Unfortunately, with greater access to information from various sources comes a greater inability to determine the veracity of that information. This is problematic in many cases, but is perhaps most unsettling when it comes to medical searches.
As more and more people turn to the internet for fast answers to their medical concerns, it becomes more important than ever to ensure that these searches are turning up reliable results. Google recognized that need and has taken a major step in making more reliable internet health searches a reality.
By working with their own team of doctors as well as teaming up with Mayo Clinic, Google has worked to compile and review medical information based on actual clinical information and high-quality web sources. Upon reviewing the medical information for accuracy, Google then plans to organize the information into Knowledge Graphs that appear with search results to help provide users with fast, simple, and organized answers to their health questions.
Regarding the medical information that is to be presented in these Knowledge Graphs, Google made the following statement on its official blog:
“We’ll show you typical symptoms and treatments, as well as details on how common the condition is—whether it’s critical, if it’s contagious, what ages it affects, and more. For some conditions you’ll also see high-quality illustrations from licensed medical illustrators. Once you get this basic info from Google, you should find it easier to do more research on other sites around the web, or know what questions to ask your doctor.”
While Google made sure to reiterate that even the most reliable search results online should not be confused with legitimate medical advice, the company’s commitment to addressing the question of accuracy when it comes to online medical searches is admirable. It demonstrates a clear understanding of a societal trend — a dependence on the internet for medical information — and recognizes that improving the reliability of that information can help people make smarter decisions about their health. At the same time, it strengthens Google’s image as a responsible company that is dedicated to not only satisfying customer needs, but also looking out for their best interests.
How often do you use the internet to search for answers to your medical questions? Share with us below or tweet me @tamarahoumi