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Google Search to Let You Find and Book Doctor’s Appointment; Fitbit Testing AFib Detection, Alerts

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Google Search is getting the ability to let users find appointment availability of doctors to plan their health checkups, without having to use a third-party solution. The update showcases at Google’s second annual healthcare-focused event The Check Up on Thursday.

In addition to the Google Search update, the Mountain View, California-based company at its virtual event announced plans to integrate support for detecting atrial fibrillation (AFib) within Fitbit fitness-tracking devices to help people receive alerts for signs of an irregular heart rhythm.

Google also announces a series of Health AI updates that aims to transform smartphones to work as stethoscopes or an ultrasound machine for early diagnosis even in remote areas.

By partnering with healthcare providers and scheduling solution providers, Google search Is Will bring the Ability to allow users to find appointments for doctors and local care providers. Users will see visit dates and times available for doctors in the area directly through search results.

The appointment availability will appear once you search for a particular practitioner or facility on Google Search. Once a relevant appointment date appears, you can hit the Book button next to the available schedule. It will take you to the third-party booking site.

Google is initially working with some healthcare providers and scheduling solution providers in the US, including MinuteClinic at CVS. The feature is also rolling out for users searching in English in the US in the coming days. However, it is aimed to be available in other markets as well over time.

Companies including Apple already have support for detecting and alerting users about AFib. However, Fitbit’s move could bring AFib detection to a range of price points.

Google also announces the expansion of health information panels on YouTube to markets including Brazil, India, and Japan. It was earlier limited to the US.

The latest research investigates whether a smartphone can detect heartbeats and murmurs, the company said. The detection will, though, be avialble to certain smartphone models as it requires specific hardware inputs.

Google is also working with partners including EyePACS and Chang Gung Memorial Hospital to investigate photos from smartphone cameras to help detect diabetes and no-diabetes diseases.

Aside from using smartphone cameras for detecting heartbeats, murmurs, and signs of diabetes, Google said that it is working on using artificial intelligence (AI) along with smartphones to provide maternal ultrasound screening. The company has partnered with Northwestern Medicine to develop and test its models for expanding the research.

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