To help prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus, many health care providers have reduced or stopped in-person visits altogether. Instead, doctors and health care providers are now asking patients to stay home and contact them via a video chat app, like Skype or Zoom. However, people may not be aware that their health care providers are offering these virtual care options. So, Google has started to highlight telehealth options in search and on the Maps app.
Google Highlights Virtual Care Options
Google recently announced new features that will direct people who are searching for medical care to available virtual care options. Whether you are searching for doctors in the area or a nearby hospital, Google will now show you information on how you can contact them from home.
Hospitals, doctors, and mental health care providers can now enter their virtual care options in their Google business profiles. They can also add a link to their virtual care websites. When a patient searches for local health care providers, they will see a link to “get online care” on both Google Maps and Google search.
Clicking this link will take them to the provider’s website. From there, patients can get more information or schedule a virtual visit. If a health care provider has an information page dedicated to the coronavirus pandemic, Google will show a link to that page as well.
Google will also be showing widely available virtual care platforms directly on Google Search, so people can easily find ways to visit a doctor virtually. When you search for terms related to “immediate care,” Google will show a section for available virtual care options. Google will also be displaying cash prices for the visit for those who don’t have insurance or have high deductible plans.
At this time, Google will not show these features when you search for coronavirus conditions or symptoms. You need to make more explicit searches for medical care to see these features.
If you’re looking for ways to stay up-to-date on the coronavirus, check out our list of the best coronavirus websites here.