Google to Add New Search, Maps Features to Help Find Virtual Healthcare Options in the US

With the continued global lockdown, many people are finding it difficult to get in touch with doctors for routine consultations. To make virtual healthcare readily available, Google will be rolling out new features over the coming week.

Two new features will be added in Search and Maps to help people connect to virtual healthcare options, including local healthcare providers, hospitals, or national telehealth platform, the official blog notes.

For instance, when you search for hospitals or doctors, you will be able to see a ”get online care” link on Search and Maps from participating healthcare providers for virtual consultation or scheduling a virtual visit. The features will be rolled out as a pilot beginning in the US.

“The pandemic has affected many healthcare providers’ operating hours and walk-in visit policies. To help communicate changes that might affect someone’s visit, we’re automatically surfacing a link directly to health providers’ COVID-19 information page on Search and Maps, and we’ve assembled best practices on how healthcare providers can update their websites and provide COVID-19 information on Google My Business,” the blog notes.

“Beginning as a pilot in the US, we’ll also begin showing widely-available virtual care platforms directly on Search so people can more easily access virtual visits. For example, when people search for ‘immediate care’, we’ll be able to also present available virtual care options and related information such as the out-of-pocket price charged for a visit (for those without insurance) and an easy way for people to directly connect with the virtual care platform. The visit between the patient and provider will take place on the healthcare provider’s platform of choice,” the blog adds.

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