Dr Google teams up with Harvard MDs

Peter Terlato 24 June 2016

Google mobile app phone

Self-diagnosis just got a little more accurate.

Humans are naturally inquisitive creatures. If you've ever felt a little under the weather, been bitten by some strange insect overseas or discovered a rash that just won't stop itching, chances are you've visited Dr Google for answers.

Usually the information you dig up is broad and extensive and defining your specific symptoms can often be a difficult task. It's quite common for people to misdiagnose themselves and develop unnecessary insecurities.

Around 1% of all Google searches are symptom-related.

In an attempt to improve these types of searches for users, Google has collaborated with a team of doctors from Harvard Medical School and the May Clinic in order to improve the health results delivered via its mobile application.

Google's Symptom Search will provide a list of related conditions, paired with description overviews and self-treatment options.

According to Google's Blog, this is how it works:

We create the list of symptoms by looking for health conditions mentioned in web results, and then checking them against high-quality medical information we’ve collected from doctors for our Knowledge Graph. We worked with a team of medical doctors to carefully review the individual symptom information, and experts at Harvard Medical School and Mayo Clinic evaluated related conditions for a representative sample of searches to help improve the lists we show.

Google has also thrown in the obvious disclaimer that this new search function is intended for informational purposes only and encourage users to always consult a doctor for assured medical advice.

The upgrades to the mobile app will roll out within the next few days, beginning in English in the United States.

Analysing the top 20 leading causes of death in Australia, a recent study found that of 188 specific diseases it tracked, five ailments accounted for one-third of all life lost over the study period.

d8nn / Shutterstock.com

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