Google’s Medical Support from Harvard Medical and Mayo Clinic
February 23, 2016
Online + Offline Communication in your Practice

Searching for your unknown aches or fevers on Google isn’t always a painless process. Symptom searches tend to lead to scary stories linked with confusing and often inaccurate self-diagnoses. Roughly 1 percent of searches on Google are related to symptoms, yet health content on the web can be overwhelming and stressful. Fortunately, Google is teaming up with two leading health organizations to minimize the stress of searching based on symptoms in the Google App.

Veronica Pinchin, a product manager on Google’s search team, wrote in a blog post introducing Google’s new partnership: “We worked with a team of medical doctors to carefully review the individual symptom information, and experts at Harvard Medical School and Mayo Clinic evaluated related conditions for a representative sample of searches to help improve the lists we show.”

Highlighting the lack of standardized health information on the web, Pinchin adds that prior to symptom search you needed to know the exact name of the condition to get the best results. As such they developed a list that would allow for easy reference.”We create the list of symptoms by looking for health conditions mentioned in web results, and then checking them against high-quality medical information we’ve collected from doctors for our Knowledge Graph.”

Bare in mind though, any medical searches on Google are intended for informational purposes only. Pinchin adds “the goal is to help you to navigate and explore health conditions related to your symptoms, and quickly get to the point where you can do more in-depth research on the web or talk to a health professional.” When it comes to medical advice always consult a doctor or a medical professional.

The first updates will be limited to the United States and in English but expect further updates in the future.

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