Google is making it easier to find low-cost healthcare centers in search results

At its health-focused event today, Google announced a series of health updates for its products, including Search. Most notably, the company announced that it’s making it easier for people to find affordable healthcare centers near them. The tech giant revealed that you will soon be able to see providers that identify as community health centers offering free or low-cost care in search results.

If a medical clinic offers affordable care, you will soon see a label that reads “Free or low-cost care” under its name in search results.

“You’ll be able to see information for community health centers in the U.S. that offer free or low-cost care,” said Hema Budaraju, Google’s senior director of product for health and search, during a briefing with reporters. “We’re focusing on these centers because we know that the access they provide to primary care has been demonstrated to show impact in improving chronic conditions, increasing the use of preventative services and decreasing ER visits. This data on the community health centers is based on publicly available information from Health Resources and Services Administration, which include all registered federally qualified health centers.”

Google also announced that it’s making it easier to find Medicaid re-enrollment information easier to find on Search. In the U.S., millions of people signed up for Medicaid during the pandemic. At that time, the requirement to re-enroll each year was paused, but that pause is about to expire on March 31, which means that if people fail to re-enroll, they will lose their healthcare coverage.

To help people avoid this, Google is making Medicaid re-enrollment information easier to find on Search. Users will see what actions they need to take by getting access to state-specific information about re-enrollment.

Image Credits: Google

Google said that it’s using new methods to ensure that Search is connecting people with up-to-date information. The company revealed that its conversation AI technology, Duplex, has called thousands of healthcare providers in the U.S. to verify their information on Google Search. Google has also used Duplex to verify if providers accept certain Medicaid plans in their state.

The tech giant is also partnering with ThroughLine, a network of mental health and crisis helplines around the world, to increase the number of crisis helplines that appear at the top of search results in additional languages and countries for searches related to suicide, domestic violence and other crisis topics.

Later this month, Google plans to make more of Fitbit’s Health Metrics Dashboard feature available without a subscription to people using Fitbit with compatible devices in countries where the feature is available. The feature helps you uncover changes with your breathing rate, skin temperature, blood oxygen and more. Google says that with this update, users will be able to see trends over longer periods of time, while also getting insights about what metrics changed from their baseline.

Google also announced that the content on the Harvard Medical School Continuing Education YouTube channel is eligible for clinicians to claim toward their Continuing Medical and Continuing Nursing Education credits. In addition, the company is working with the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to provide best practices for video production and content strategy that will help accrediting organizations create even more CME-eligible content on YouTube.