Google launches health cards in India
Now, accessing health-related information is just a click away, thanks to Google India's newly launched health cards in Knowledge Graph. When a user searches for some common health conditions, related cards explaining its symptoms, commonness, criticality, characteristics, affected ages, etc. are shown. Prem Ramaswami, Sr. Product Head-Google, said that the feature is beneficial for users as they can get credible information quickly and easily.
In Feb'15, Google had announced that it would add a new health-related card feature to the Knowledge Graph in the US. Two weeks after the announcement, the feature went live and allowed users to access disease or health-related details through a single quick search. In March'16, the same feature was launched in Brazil in the backdrop of increasing 'Zika' virus victims in the country.
Online users have difficulty in trusting medical information on the web including information coming from personal blogs or science data. So, Google aimed to provide its users with a framework to find accurate, credible medical information.
Google was concerned about the small number of health information sources available in India. Google stated that about 850 million people, who aren't online today would be online soon; so, an effective way to educate people about health or illnesses was required. In India, the doctor-to-patient ratio is 1:11,500 and combined with ASHAs the ratio is 1:6,000, which demands other sources of health information.
Google's Senior Product Manager, Prem Ramaswami said: "Around the world, health conditions are among the most important things that people ask Google about. In fact, one in 20 searches are for health-related information."
The search engine giant tied-up with Apollo Hospitals, Columbia Asia Hospitals, and six other hospitals to analyze medical-related content. Google India also consulted All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) and Accredited Social Health Activists (ASHAs) to ensure that the accessible information on cards is correct and useful. The newly-launched feature would cover information about more than 400 common local health conditions or illnesses.
Similar to its other products, Google India has kept health cards 'lite' and customized the feature to India. Google ensured that the information is accessible even when connected on a 2G connection.
Google India has clarified that their feature is just to enlighten its users, and was not a substitute for doctors. Google stated that the nuance of a medical condition can't be captured, but patients would be able to understand doctors and their treatment better. For the reason that some patients might ignore doctors' advice, Google excluded details on possible medical treatments in its cards.
Users can access the cards using the Google application on mobiles/tablets running on Android or iOS, and desktop or mobile browsers. To aid the user to understand better, visuals about which body part is affected and other details are sorted, which could be downloaded in PDF format for further usage. The feature is currently available in both Hindi and English languages in India.