Google is constantly working to develop AI and automation services to make our lives easier. In the latest announcement, they have claimed that we can now book doctor’s appointment just by using Google Search. At Google’s The Check Up event on Thursday, the company showed how Google Search can help people find appointment availability of doctors to plan their health checkups, without depending on a third-party solution.
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Google announced that they plan to integrate support for detecting atrial fibrillation (AFib) within Fitbit fitness-tracking devices to help people receive alerts for signs of an irregular heart rhythm. A series of Health AI updates were also announced that would enable smartphones to work as stethoscopes or an ultrasound machine for early diagnosis even in remote areas.
Google Search can Book your Doctor’s Appointment
The latest Google update will let users book their doctor’s appointment, but currently, it is limited to the US only. An announcement by Fitbit confirmed that they are working on an AFib algorithm. It will work with the existing optical Photoplethysmography (PPG) sensor on its wearables to detect and alert users about irregular heart rhythm. This algorithm is currently with the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for review. However, we can expect it to be available as an update to Fitbit fitness-tracking bands and smartwatches over time. During trials, this algorithm accurately identified undiagnosed AFib 98 percent of the time.
The health information panels on YouTube will now be available to markets including Brazil, India, and Japan. Earlier it was limited to the US. Google also announced that one of the early-stage developments they are working on involves using smartphones as a stethoscope. The inbuilt microphones will be used to record a participant’s heart sounds when placed over chest.
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The company’s latest research in Health AI investigates whether a smartphone can detect heartbeats and murmurs. However, the detection will be limited to certain smartphone models as it requires specific hardware inputs.
In a blog, Greg Corrado, Head of Health AI at Google said, “We’re currently in the early stages of clinical study testing, but we hope that our work can empower people to use the smartphone as an additional tool for accessible health evaluation.”
Google has reportedly partnered with EyePACS and Chang Gung Memorial Hospital to investigate photos from smartphone cameras for detecting diabetes and no-diabetes diseases. Google has partnered with Northwestern Medicine to develop an AI model that works with smartphones to provide maternal ultrasound screening. Currently, they are working on the development and testing of its models for expanding the research.
With all being said, these developments are still in their early stages and would take some time before they are made available for public use.
How Appointment Booking Works?
Google would partner with quite a few healthcare providers and a number of scheduling solution providers. The new feature will let users find appointment availability for doctors and local care providers using Google Search. They can see available appointment dates and times for doctors in the area directly through the search results and book their respective appointment slots.
All a user has to do is search for a particular practitioner or facility on Google Search. A list of relevant appointment date will appear in front of them. They can choose a particular date and click on the Book button. This will take them to a third-party website where they can confirm the booking.
Currently, Google is working with some healthcare providers and scheduling solution providers in the US, including MinuteClinic at CVS. The feature is also set to be rolled out for users searching in English in the US in the coming days. It will, however, take time for the update to be available in other parts of the world.
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