Getting medical advice on the Web has never been easy, with most queries getting answered by anonymous Yahoo! Answers instead of factual information. Google is looking to change this, with a new “doctor-on-demand” service, as part of their Helpouts expansion.
Helpouts, for anyone unaware, lets work-at-home professionals teach or provide information to beginners. In the first few months of the service, hundreds of professionals in photography, web development, fitness and other niches have joined Helpouts.
The new move into medical will allow users to go online and get examinations. Google is currently self-funding the service, called Telemedicine, allowing patients to get free medical care online, to a point. The patient will still have to pay for any medicine bills and advanced examination.
A Redditor pointed the new feature out, using his Android device. Google confirmed to Engadget they are testing the feature out on Helpouts. If released, patients will be able to go online to get doctor’s help in minutes, with a minutely or hourly cost.
The examination will take place over Hangouts, Google’s video call service. Telemedicine will only go so far, if the patient has an illness the doctor cannot figure out over video call, they will refer them to a medical service in the local area for further examination.
Think of it as a way to check if the lump or cough is anything to worry about, before having to go and visit a health clinic. If Helpouts becomes popular, this may save a lot of time for clinics, who are normally full with patients with very minor illnesses that can be treated online.
Google wants to clean up a lot of the Web, where the best search results are Yahoo! Answers and questionable blog posts. Having their own services to take over these questionable answer websites is a good move for everyone.
What do you think, would you use this service?