Search engine promotes verified medical information

9 Feb 2017

The AMA has cautiously welcomed the news that Tech giant Google has launched Health Cards, containing basic medical information verified by doctors at the Mayo Clinic, for users searching online to learn more about their symptoms. According to Google, the cards are not meant to be a diagnostic tool, but enable patients to have more informed conversations with their doctors.

With one in 20 Google searches health-related, the cards cover details of more than 900 health conditions and diseases, and indicate how concerned users should be about each ailment.

AMA President, Dr Michael Gannon, while cautiously welcoming the move, said that people should still seek medical advice from their doctor.

“Information is power. If patients are armed with better information about their treatment choices, this might be used to enhance the care provided by doctors,” Dr Gannon told Triple J.

Dr Bartone said it was a long-overdue development.

“But what we need to remember is that it's information only,” Dr Bartone told 2GB.

“It's not a cookie cutter approach to self-diagnosis, and even the manufacturers of this program, the developers, have said that it's not to be used as anything else other than just a source of information.”