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Google & Mayo collaborate to improve "googling" health info

Google & Mayo collaborate to improve "googling" health info | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

This week, Google announced plansto make those searches your patients are doing for health information more reliable by delivering information curated by its own physicians and others from the Mayo Clinic.

According to Google, one in twenty searches it gets are for health information. Now when someone searches for a common diagnosis, they’ll get information that’s been reviewed by health care professionals on the results page in the Knowledge Graph. That’s the part of the screen, separated from the results & links, that has information on your search topic.

Information will include symptoms, treatments, information on who is affected, whether its contagious, and more – all reviewed by healthcare professionals. As described by Google,

So starting in the next few days, when you ask Google about common health conditions, you’ll start getting relevant medical facts right up front from the Knowledge Graph. We’ll show you typical symptoms and treatments, as well as details on how common the condition is—whether it’s critical, if it’s contagious, what ages it affects, and more. For some conditions you’ll also see high-quality illustrations from licensed medical illustrators. Once you get this basic info from Google, you should find it easier to do more research on other sites around the web, or know what questions to ask your doctor.

Google’s internal team is led by Dr. Kapil Parakh, a heart failure cardiologist who previously practiced at Johns Hopkins and went on to become a White House fellow before joining Google. They also worked with healthcare professionals from the Mayo Clinic, whose sites often pop up as the first or second result when you search for any number of specific health conditions.

Its unclear what breadth of health conditions will be covered and in what depth. And with all of the news articles about this starting with “Dr. Google,” you’d think Google’s new search function will be diagnosing most common conditions. But by the examples offered, it seems that searches would have to be for actual health terms – measles, tonsillitis, frostbite, and so on. For patients experiencing any of these things (without a diagnosis yet), I’d guess the searches would be more vague – sore throat, red rash, or blue foot.

On the other hand, for folks who see the news about the measles or hear a friend has been diagnosed with pink eye, they’d probably use specific enough terms to see this curated health information. And for patients who may not have understood everything their doctor told them about their child’s tonsillitis or how bursitis is causing their pain, this information could be a great starting point to learn more from a reliable source.

We’ve all had the experience of patient’s walking into clinic armed with information gleaned from Googling their condition. Hopefully, this new health-specific search will mean they show up with more information from the Mayo Clinic and less from Dr. Oz.


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UpTempo Group's curator insight, February 17, 2015 9:16 PM

Google is improving their search results for health info.  Per Google's Team "We’ll show you typical symptoms and treatments, as well as details on how common the condition is—whether it’s critical, if it’s contagious, what ages it affects, and more. For some conditions you’ll also see high-quality illustrations from licensed medical illustrators. Once you get this basic info from Google, you should find it easier to do more research on other sites around the web, or know what questions to ask your doctor."

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Dexcom teases Apple Watch for diabetes monitoring at CES

Dexcom teases Apple Watch for diabetes monitoring at CES | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

As digital health continues to extend into the mainstream, continuous glucose monitor (CGM) manufacturer Dexcom took advantage of the 2015 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) to unveil a simulated Apple Watch displaying live demo glucose readings from a Dexcom CGM.


As pictured on the right, the Apple Watch display is fairly similar to the current Dexcom receiver’s. It displays the current blood sugar reading, a graph of recent blood sugars, and  a trend arrow (telling the user whether their glucose trend is sharply upwards, upwards, flat, downwards, or sharply downwards). From the demo, there is no indication if the Apple Watch app will have any other features such as alarms, calibration, etc.

I believe this is the first time any diabetes device manufacturer has publicly shown any demonstration of continuous glucose data being transmitted wirelessly to a smartwatch.  The closest demonstration would be Medtronic live streaming glucose readings from their CGM to an iPhone display this past Fall.

Currently, there are no official solutions that stream glucose data to smart watches.  For the tech-savvy, a NightScout community exists that helps users “hack” their CGM’s into streaming glucose data to the cloud. In comparison, out-of-the-box synchronization to mobile devices would be a huge step for continuous glucose monitors, and the recent demos by Dexcom and Medtronic suggest that the FDA approval landscape for diabetes technology is loosening.


In a CES Digital Health session titled “Winning the War on Diabetes”, Dexcom’s Steve Pacelli (pictured second to left), Executive Vice President of Strategy and Corporate Development, announced that “[Dexcom's] 5th generation system will transfer data from the sensor to the phone.”

This would represent a significant upgrade over current G4 solutions that require a separate product (the recently approved Dexcom Share) to serve as an intermediary device between the smartphone and Dexcom receiver. Dexcom’s 5th gen release would eliminate the need for a Share-like receiver and could potentially even eliminate the receiver.

With respect to the Dexcom booth’s Apple Watch demo, it was unclear if the Apple Watch integration is coming for the Dexcom Share (and therefore current G4 systems) or for the future G5 release. However, it’s worth noting that the demo was running inside Apple’s developer kit, which means that the display was running actual software code and not just a mockup.

Furthermore, unlike Medtronic which has officially gone on record stating that Apple HealthKit integration is not part of initial plans for their upcoming smartphone systems, Dexcom’s booth prominently featured Apple Watch and Apple HealthKit in their signage.


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