Google Helping to Simplify Healthcare Searches

Consumers can now filter healthcare providers based on a few criteria

The American healthcare system is complex, and it can be challenging to navigate, especially when you're looking for a new provider. To make the process easier, Google has added filters to its search function to help smartphone users find providers that accept Medicare or particular private insurance plans, or speak different languages.

Key Takeaways

  • Google has enhanced its search function to help Americans better navigate the U.S. healthcare system.
  • When searching for healthcare providers, users may be able to filter options near them based on accepted insurance plans, languages spoken, and more.
  • Google relies on healthcare providers to update their business profiles to include the information, so it may not always be accurate.

How Google Can Help You Find a Healthcare Provider

Whether it's an emergency or a routine visit, finding a good healthcare provider can be tricky. If you're on Medicare or have private insurance on your own or through an employer, you'll need to find a provider that accepts your coverage, or you may be on your own to foot the bill.

Insurance carriers typically provide a way to search for providers on their websites, but that information can be outdated or flat-out wrong.

Now, Google has added a feature to its search function on smart phones to give patients the information they need to find providers in their area.

For example, when you type in "doctors near me" or doctors near a specific location, you'll now be able to filter them based on their distance from you and whether they accept Medicare. If you expand the filters, you may also be able to narrow your search based on what private insurance they accept, though that's not guaranteed to be listed as an option.

In some areas, you can also filter providers based on whether or not they speak your language, with more than a dozen options from which to choose.

These new features should help make the process of finding a healthcare provider less intimidating and easier.

It May Take Time to Become Universally Useful

The idea behind Google's new search feature is a good one, but it might take some time before patients can rely on it completely. Google uses information from providers' business profiles to help it filter results. As such, the healthcare providers themselves need to update their profiles to indicate which insurance plans they currently accept, which languages are spoken in the office, and more.

So if you try to use the function right now, your experience could be somewhat limited, and you may still need to do some further research to confirm the details you're looking for.

But over time, as healthcare providers get on board, the feature has a lot of potential.

Article Sources
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  1. STAT. "Ghost Networks of Psychiatrists Make Money for Insurance Companies but Hinder Patients' Access to Care."

  2. Gizmodo. "Google Can Now Help You Navigate the Mess That Is American Healthcare."

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