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Google releases new search engine feature for scheduling healthcare appointments

by John R. Fischer, Senior Reporter | March 31, 2022
Business Affairs Health IT
Google has a search engine feature that allows people to find and book appointments in their area. (Photo courtesy of Google)
A new Google search engine tool will allow people to search for, find and schedule healthcare appointments with providers in their area.

The search engine company has teamed up with providers such as CVS Pharmacy and MinuteClinic to provide users with a list of services offered by healthcare practices as well as days and times to make appointments.

The new feature is expected to be beneficial for patients who do not have a regular provider or are looking to book a checkup or a same-day visit, reports The Hill.

"While we’re still in the early stages of rolling this feature out, we’re working with partners, including MinuteClinic at CVS and other scheduling solution providers. We hope to expand features, functionality and our network of partners so we can make it easier for people to get the care they need," said Google in a blog post.

A person simply searches for a provider nearby, and Google shows them the types of appointments they can schedule. For instance, a search of MinuteClinic will provide patients with the option to schedule a checkup, vaccination, skin condition or an assessment for an illness without leaving Google search.

MinuteClinic is a division of CVS Health, which is partnering with Google on its endeavor as it tries to trademark its logo, set up an online store and offer patients downloadable goods such as prescription drugs, health, wellness, beauty and personal care products. It recently filed a trademark to sell virtual goods and provide healthcare services through the metaverse, according to CNBC News.

“We’re … regularly looking at new and innovative ways to engage consumers through a digital-first, technology-forward approach,” a spokesperson for the pharmacy chain told CNBC at the time. "We will continue to explore these and other options to improve the consumer experience and launch new consumer-centric services.”

Google is also the owner of YouTube, which, as of March 24, is adding health source information panels on videos viewed in Japan, Brazil and India. The panels are designed to identify authoritative sources to connect users with trusted information about their health. It also is providing health content shelves to pinpoint watchers to videos from these sources when they google specific health topics. “These context cues help people easily navigate and evaluate credible health information,” said the company in its blog post.

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