Google Testing Live Video Chat with Doctors

December 11, 2014 - 2 minutes read

google medical chat

Internet and technology giant Google is in the early stages of a groundbreaking pilot program that seeks to create real-time interfaces between doctors and patients. The company is currently testing real-time video links between doctors and people who use Google’s eponymous search engine to look up information about medical symptoms.

In an age of instant information and rising healthcare costs, many people are choosing to research symptoms online before booking a doctor’s appointment. Google is giving a select number of online patients the option of discussing their symptoms with a doctor via a live video chat window. The project is exploring ways of using technology to bridge doctor-patient gaps and use the Internet to deliver more relevant services to end users.

In a statement, a Google representative said, “When you’re searching for basic health information — from conditions like insomnia or food poisoning — our goal is to provide you with the most helpful information possible. We’re trying this new feature to see if it’s useful to people.”

Though the service is currently available free of charge to a very limited number of qualified users, Google is expected to monetize it in the future if it proves viable. Internet users could pay to speak to a doctor via a real-time video chat using the Google Wallet payment system. However, it does have some inherent limitations — doctors are unable to perform tests or conduct physical examinations of patients, which will limit its scope of applicability.

Regardless, healthcare app developers can be encouraged by this development. Using technology to deliver and manage healthcare needs has long been heralded as a major area of growth, and Google’s pilot program represents a firm step forward in that regard.

The healthcare industry could go on to play a major role in the future of iPhone app development in New York City and across the country. Apple has already worked hard to integrate health monitoring and data tracking features into its new product lineup, with the expectation of major growth in tech-driven healthcare in the years ahead.

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