Change on cards for tech giant
A new Google product will steer Kiwis towards ‘‘high-quality’’ health information and help the medical community take back control from fake or misleading advice, the American technology giant says.
‘‘Health cards’’ offering information on 900 commonly searchedfor conditions – including flu, asthma and diabetes – were rolled out in New Zealand this week.
One in 20 Google searches was health related, said the company’s health programme manager Isobel Solaqua. A variety of information was available online but not all of this data was backed up by solid medical evidence.
‘‘There are lots of rabbit holes that users can go down in terms of finding not-good health information, getting led astray by websites that might ... not offer rigorous medical information that their doctor would want them looking at.’’
Solaqua said Google’s health cards had been developed over ‘‘years’’, with each condition being reviewed by at least 10 doctors.
‘‘We worked really hard to ensure the medical rigour so it would be information ... their doctor would feel fine about.’’
Health cards appear at the top of a Google search, and cover the symptoms, treatment, and prevalence of each condition. They were ‘‘informational only’’ and ‘‘absolutely’’ not designed to replace advice from a medical professional, Solaqua said.
‘‘I don’t think it’s an end solution in and of itself but I think it is a step forward in providing accurate, clinical information.‘‘
Royal New Zealand College of General Practitioners medical director Dr Richard Medlicott said the clinically-based information presented on the cards was positive but Google’s advice seemed a bit ‘‘light’’.
‘‘They may want to tease out some of the risks here and be a bit more clearcut in terms of warning signs if patients are going to use this as a diagnosis.’’
The internet was a ‘‘fantastic wealth of information’’ but most people realised they would need to see a GP for a diagnosis, he said.
Google’s health cards, which offer advice on 900 medical conditions, are now available in New Zealand.