The COVID-19 pandemic has put a spotlight on virtual care options as both doctors and patients try to reduce in-person visits for routine care as much as possible. Patients aren’t always aware of what’s available to them, though, so over the course of the next two weeks, Google will roll out new features in Search and Maps that will highlight telehealth options.
Hospitals, doctors and mental health professionals can now add details about their virtual care offerings to their Business Profile in Search and Maps, for example. When a patient then searches for them, they’ll see a ‘get online care’ link that will take them to their provider’s website with more information.
In the U.S., Google will also start showing virtual care platforms when people use search queries like ‘immediate care.’ The search results page will now highlight both in-person and virtual care options, something that wasn’t previously the case. Uninsured users will also see more details about out-of-pocket prices for their visits.
In addition, Google will now also automatically try to surface a link to a health care provider’s COVID-19 page, where they can highlight their own policies for walk-in visits or updates to their operating hours, for example.