Health Search Wars: Bing Enhances Results While Google Expands Flu Trends

Bing has updated its health search results to assist in navigating to specific information that you’ll find useful.

If you’re curious about a medication, you can get quick info and search filters in a box that appears at the top of the results:

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When you search for a disease, you’ll find a box containing a definition and links to related information. Since January is Thyroid Awareness Month, I thought it would be prudent to search for “hypothyroidism.” Experts expect up to 27 million Americans suffer from hypothyroidism, though roughly half have yet to be diagnosed.

Here’s what a search for hypothyroidism on the enhanced health search on Bing looks like:

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Bing still needs to tweak the health search a bit. For example, the related medicines section under “hypothyroidism” leaves a lot to be desired. Synthroid is by far the most widely prescribed drug. Meanwhile, Tapazole is prescribed to address hypERthyroidism.

Additionally, thyroidectomy is a “related procedure,” but this may cause much unnecessary freaking out as most people simply need to be treated with medication.

It’s not all bad, of course. I’m thrilled to see the link for sub-clinical hypothyroidism, as this is the grey, fuzzy area of the disease. This is where your thyroid isn’t performing so hot, but it’s pretty darn close to normal.

Including a search filter for “thyroid function tests” is also incredibly useful. Let’s just say you’re gonna get your veins poked a lot if you do have thyroid disease.

Best of all, the main link for “Hypothyroidism” goes to a page hosted on Bing, but the content is provided by Mayo Clinic. The information is clear and concise – useful to patients and caregivers.

Another area of Bing’s health search that has been enhanced is hospital info. Search for a hospital and you’ll get a box with patient ratings. The ratings come from the US Department for Health and Human Services.

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For some hospitals, even more comprehensive information and links are provided:

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Meanwhile, Google has made an update to their Flu Trends. While the flu is being kind of shy right now, Google said it wanted to have its flu tracker ready for the next wave. And we know there will be one sooner or later.

The update involves providing flu info for 121 U.S. cities. Previously, flu trends were available on a state and country level.

The data is available as an experimental feature.

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