Coronavirus Outbreak: Google to increase visibility of virtual healthcare options on its platforms to aid users in time of pandemic

Tech giant Google has decided to provide greater visibility to virtual health care options by introducing new features on Google Search and Google Maps.

This step is aimed at improving the scope and possibility of accessing healthcare without having to visit any doctor’s chamber in the times of the coronavirus.

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Julie Black, the director of product management in Google Heath, announced the action plan in a blog post.

The surge in COVID-19 cases has halted the treatment of various other ailments. Either hospitals have had to focus on coronavirus patients or people have stopped visiting the healthcare centres due to the outbreak.

Google said that under such a situation, it is better for everyone to consult a doctor over the phone or through the internet. This will reduce the pressure on the healthcare workers and also make sure that less people are outdoors.

Google will be introducing two new features on its Search and Maps application that will make it easier for people to locate a nearby healthcare centre or a clinic.

The hospitals, doctors and mental health professionals wishing to provide virtual services can enter a “virtual care offering in their Business Profile”. So, whenever people search for a service provider in their vicinity, a “get online care” link will appear on Search and Maps.

The pilot version of another feature will begin in the United States, to be shortly followed by a global roll out. Under this feature, users of Google Search will find virtual care platforms directly on their search result feed.

For example, if one types in “immediate care”, Google will show all the medical care providers’ details on its feed. The user will be able to know the price of the service, location of visit (online or offline) and their contact detail.