Have Your Doctor’s Appointment Right in Google Search Results

First brought to the news by a Reddit user, Google is currently testing a new feature that will allow users searching for medical-related information to connect directly with doctors via its Google Helpouts project.

With Google investing heavily in its efforts to redefine health care with its Calico effort, this is one step in the right direction to make health care professionals more accessible to individuals as they are needed. With health care being one of the most common uses for searchers on Google, and many users becoming more and more frustrated with results from sites like WebMD, this is an opportunity to provide information and health care to individuals that is more accurate than anything currently available via the Web.

Here is a screenshot of what was seen earlier today within SERPs:

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As you can see in the text above, Google is showcasing this to a limited amount of queries and only showing to those it feels would be relevant to this service. Also called out is that Google will cover all costs of the service. Of course, at some point, these costs will most likely be transitioned to a health care provider or insurance company. As will be discussed below, there also may be an opportunity for advertisers to get involved.

Why This Will Work

One of the main problems health care professionals face is their limited time to see patients. Most people reading this article most likely have sat in a waiting room for more than 45 minutes waiting to see the doctor. By eliminating the need for a doctor to commute to their office, plus the elimination of the back and forth between examination rooms, this can make the average doctor more efficient. While video chat is widely used to connect with doctors, if done correctly, this can increase the scale it is used on significantly. Companies like Spruce and Better have taken steps to get this mainstream, but this could take things to a new level. It could possibly give an individual access to a specialist across the entire country, or world. While the jury is still out on the effectiveness of video-based treatment, the argument for efficiency stands up quite well.

How Can Advertisers Get Involved?

As of now, there is no immediate use for advertisers. But with Google and the big pharmaceutical companies in the business of making money and working for shareholders, it is only a matter of time until advertisers can become involved. Whether it’s content-based text ads or something more influential like pre-roll videos or sponsorship of the Helpouts, there is no doubt in the future advertisers will be able to tap into this new feature. With costs currently being covered by Google, the opportunity for advertisers to assist in covering these costs alongside an insurance company is a viable option, should the right advertising options become available.

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