Google is making search results improvements to make it easier for people to find virtual health care choices, the company said in a blog post published today. The updates, which will roll out “in the coming week,” aim to make it easier to access telehealth providers, which due to the COVID-19 pandemic have seen a rise in demand.
Health care providers providing virtual care services should be able to add a link on their company profile to their virtual care page, and that link should appear in both the search results and on Google Maps. If a health care provider has a page dedicated to details related to COVID-19, Google says a link to that page would also automatically surface. In the picture below you can see what those add-ons would look like:
Google will also start surfacing “wide-available” virtual care services in the search results in a standalone card when you search for words relevant to immediate treatment. The card can connect up to the virtual care network and show details for an appointment such as the out – of-pocket price if you don’t have insurance. This is launching as a pilot in the US and people will start seeing links to virtual treatment provided by Amwell Medical Group, Doctor On Demand, and Anthem starting today in search results. Here’s a GIF showing what those effects would look like:
However, at this time, if you’re searching for COVID-19 conditions or symptoms, Google won’t surface these new features — you need to make more specific treatment searches to see them.
Google and Apple have also announced that they would work together to create a platform to monitor COVID-19 spread across iOS and Android.