About a year ago when Google launched its video chats service and directory Helpouts, which connects people to experts in a wide variety of fields, reports emerged that the search giant was now offering video visits with doctors.
Soon after Helpouts’ launch, tech-savvy primary care provider One Medical Group’s CEO Dr. Tom Lee told VentureBeat that his company was working with the search giant on video visits:
“We are learning with Google — [and] it’s been so far, so good.” he said at the time.
VentureBeat also noted that Google had built Helpouts to be HIPAA compliant and had even instructed providers looking to offer healthcare services through the platform to be sure to declare their status as a covered entity when they signed up. Here’s how Google explained it to doctors and other providers considering Helpouts as a channel:
“Helpouts providers are responsible for determining whether they are subject to HIPAA requirements and whether they use or intend to use Helpouts in connection with PHI,” Google writes in its terms. “Users who have not entered into a BAA with Google must not use Helpouts or other Google services in connection with PHI.”
Today there are a number of Helpouts available from One Medical Group, including exclusive video chat options for the medical provider’s patients in Massachusetts, New York and more. Some of these 30 minute calls carry a fee of upwards of $60, while others are listed as free. A quick search on Helpouts for other health-related services results in a wide variety of wellness, fitness, and medical-related help. Some are free but most carry a fee.
Recently Google has begun testing whether including a link to a relevant Helpout session as part of a person’s search results, may increase uptake of the service. Search results don’t always yield enough information and a video call with a relevant provider might.
“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 available,” a Google spokesperson told MobiHealthNews in a statement. “We’re trying this new feature to see if it’s useful to people.” Keep reading>>