New Google feature hooks you up with a real doctor via video chat when you search for symptoms

New Google feature hooks you up with a real doctor via video chat when you search for symptoms
Let's say you have some strange pain in your knee and you're worried what it could mean. So, you do the first thing that comes to your mind. You check the internet. But doing that only confuses you more because of the myriad of diagnoses that you read about online. The pain could mean anything from a strained knee, to cancer of the patella. If you're the nervous type, guess which one you're going to think it is!

But Google is testing out a new feature that comes in handy during situations like this. Check out a symptom using Google Search and you just might be given the opportunity to speak with an appropriate doctor via video chat. And for now, Google is footing the bill.

The wording used by Google to explain this limited trial seems to suggest that once the trial period ends, you will be financially responsible to pay for the virtual doctor appointment. But for those hypochondriacs who always fear the worse, it could be money well spent just to alleviate the fears.

source: Reddit via Engadget



1. amiaq

Posts: 509; Member since: Jun 30, 2012

Unless you live thousands of miles away from civilisation, please see a real person/doctor for advice.

4. tech2

Posts: 3487; Member since: Oct 26, 2012

I don't know about where you live but here in UK unless you have a severe medical condition, its nearly impossible to get an appointment with a doctor same day. Even when you do you have to wait hours for your turns. Ofc, there are private doctors but they charge a fortune. I think this service may come very handy in such cases. I can totally see this service being a part of the Google Helpout (ofc, Google need to establish that the person really is a doctor with credentials) and help doctors earn some extra income on the side.

6. elitewolverine

Posts: 5192; Member since: Oct 28, 2013

Benefits of a free healthcare? I love being able to simply call the doc and within a day or two get in, or see a specialist like a scratch test doc in under a week.

7. tech2

Posts: 3487; Member since: Oct 26, 2012

Exactly, that's the keyword here 1 or 2 days ! Here you don't need to wait that long. Also, there you need to take a day or atleast a half day off from your work to visit the doctor since you'll need to wait inspite of booking an appointment but here all those can be avoided. Its an extra service do you get that point ?! No one is taking away the traditional way of visiting the doctor away from you. Its just an added service. Where one fails the other works and vice versa. BTW, if you'd known anything about the working of economy. You wouldn't say its 'free healthcare' !

9. elitewolverine

Posts: 5192; Member since: Oct 28, 2013

Oh i know how 'free' works, its not that hard to understand, it's just the most widely accepted term since you are paying through mandatory taxes vs out of pocket. Oh i don't find this useless at all, i think it actually opens up a great paid service that only half exists for the med field and getting it open to real consumers, instead of just people in the know. Kinda like live tech chat support but for medical use. Funny enough last week i booked a same day appointment with our doc for my kid last week. I have used such services, paid 50$ for legal advise over a legal website vs setting up a legal meeting etc.

2. GreekGeek

Posts: 1276; Member since: Mar 22, 2014

Now What the F's the difference between consulting a doctor (who cannot examine you physically) and consulting an online medical Forum w/c are mostly free ??? I've had a lump in my neck several years back and no Doctor whom I visited actually diagnosed it right, guess what....An online medical forum predicted it CORRECTLY! I've had lymph node TB btw This idea is stupid

11. Settings

Posts: 2943; Member since: Jul 02, 2014

An actual can give you prescription on Rx meds wherein a signature is needed or S2 license, can give you requests for labs, check your vital signs, and many more.

3. xperiaDROID

Posts: 5629; Member since: Mar 08, 2013

I thought the guy in the thumbnail was MKBHD for a second.

5. tech2

Posts: 3487; Member since: Oct 26, 2012

I thought so too but then I noticed there are no Cheerios boxes in the background.

8. CLmaster

Posts: 98; Member since: Sep 06, 2014

Terrible idea, you need to examine a patient properly in order to give a diagnose: inspection, percussion, palpation, auscultation. Giving a diagnose just by talking is absolutely irresponsible.

12. mixedfish

Posts: 1555; Member since: Nov 17, 2013

You probably think those poison hotlines operated by certified nurses are a terrible idea too. You don't need to go as far as a diagnoses, some qualified advice would already be a good start.

18. CLmaster

Posts: 98; Member since: Sep 06, 2014

Yes, I say this because I want the government taking poor people's money and not because I worry for the patient's health. A doctor is unprofessional by giving a phone consult without examining the patient... Imagine everyone using Google not to get out of their homes. A lot of serious diseases start as common colds. But hey, we've got Google. And it isn't the same asking a question to a nurse than to a doctor. If you have a question about your health call your doctor (the one who has seen you), not some random doctor on the Internet.

13. blazee

Posts: 414; Member since: Jan 02, 2012

You're absolutely right. If you have cold symptoms you should go to a doc and pay $100+ so he could just look at you and tell you, you have cold symptoms.

17. CLmaster

Posts: 98; Member since: Sep 06, 2014

If you were a doctor you would know you're wrong. And people ain't going to call just because of a cold always, but after giving a diagnose without examining a patient probably a lot will be diagnosed of having "just a cold" instead of the actual disease. If you have just a cold and are smart enough to use this system, you should know to rest and drink a lot of liquids if it's viral. If not GO TO A DOCTOR.

19. blazee

Posts: 414; Member since: Jan 02, 2012

I'm pretry sure a doctor wouldn't know if its viral or bacterial either, unless they did culture and sensitivity testing on your sputum or white blood count differential (not 100% sure though). A doctor might change his original order for a patient at a hospital if he receives a phone call from a nurse about a change in the patients conditions or some other findings, and that's all without seeing the patients. I don't think this could replace a doctors visit but I think it could be a good alternative for a small concern, if you don't have insurance.

20. blazee

Posts: 414; Member since: Jan 02, 2012

Also, I am not a doctor and might be totally wrong here lol

21. CLmaster

Posts: 98; Member since: Sep 06, 2014

There are clinical differences between a viral and bacterial infection that can give you a diagnose without a blood test or cultive

10. mturby unregistered

Thats what i call a health feature. Take that Apple!

14. 0xFFFF

Posts: 3806; Member since: Apr 16, 2014

Gotta love Google and how upfront they are with their privacy invasion and data collection. They have no problem recording your private conversations with a medical doctor, data mining it, and selling it to insurance companies, intelligence agencies, data brokers, etc. But remember, Google is doing this to save the children, save the world from ebola, etc.

15. jesusnexo unregistered

this isn't suppose to be for badly health conditions guys... these are for questions you might have, of course if you have something severe you're not gonna go to Google but if you have a pulsing sting on your ear (like i do) sometimes and you wonder what might be then this is actually helpful.

16. clevercarlos

Posts: 18; Member since: Sep 08, 2013

Google has some great ideas sometimes but this is not one of them. With so many security breaches its just better if you go in person to talk to your doctor

22. askarian00

Posts: 3; Member since: Oct 10, 2014

Data collected through this channel will be used for the health apps.

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