FSA Friday - Celebrating 20 years of healthcare innovation from … Google?

"Google it!"

This is the advice people have been given to handle nearly every imaginable question over the last two decades. And of course, this includes questions about health and wellness.

Google's ever-changing search engine algorithm has made it the gold standard for finding information on the web, thanks to the sheer amounts of data it can process. But what people might not realize is just how much this data collection and organization has benefited the healthcare industry.

Where other search engines would present information based on a handful of rudimentary factors, Google has been able to locate and sort medical info in different ways, allowing doctors to spend less time coming to medical conclusions, and more time acting on them.

Since Google just turned 20 on September 4, and now flaunts eight different products that have more than a billion users each, let's check out an article that highlights how Google's next 20 years might be more impressive than the first, especially when it comes to healthcare.

Google turns 20: Here are 7 ways it's changing healthcare - Jessica Kim Cohen, Becker's Hospital Review

Sure, we know how most people likely use Google for healthcare -- entering a question (or symptom) into a search bar, and hoping the results provide the answer they're looking for. But what you might not know is that Google's data organization has played a large role in several key areas of healthcare research and practice, including:

  • Search: Healthcare searches account for an estimated 5% of overall Google traffic. But to help curb misinformation that runs rampant on the web, Google also introduced "health cards" to provide authorized information on conditions and treatment.
  • Clinical documents: Data entry is a major time problem for most medical professionals, so Google's technology is working on speech recognition tools and AI models to facilitate these processes, freeing up doctors' time for more pressing needs.
  • HIPAA compliance: To make its tools better suited for hospital use, Google has expanded its medical offerings with healthcare workloads in mind, ensuring better security and encryption for sensitive medical and billing documents.

The author goes into much more detail about these items, as well as several other ways in which the search giant has crossed into healthcare, to foster change for medical professionals and staff alike. This includes everything from fitness apps to functional genomics, indicating Google's presence in healthcare is no longer limited to just questions and answers.

FSA Friday is a weekly roundup of the latest topics, tips and headlines to keep you updated on all things flex spending. It appears every Friday, exclusively on the FSAstore.com Learning Center. And for the latest info about your health and financial wellness, be sure to follow us on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Twitter.

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