When people seek information on health-related symptoms, many turn to the internet, and Google in particular, as the first stop. Now, when consumers access Google's mobile search for information about certain symptoms, they will get facts on relevant related medical conditions up front on their smartphone or other mobile device.
For example, a symptom search — even one using common language free of medical terminology like "my tummy hurts" or "nose blocked" — will show a list of related conditions. For individual symptoms like "headache," searchers will see overview information as well as have the ability to view self-treatment options and suggestions of when to seek help from a healthcare professional. To ensure quality and accuracy, teams of doctors, including expert clinicians at Mayo Clinic, have written or reviewed individual symptom information and evaluated related conditions.
The goal of this new symptom search feature is to help searchers explore and navigate health conditions related to symptoms, get basic answers quickly and lead to more in-depth research on the web or contacting a health care professional. Google will navigate searchers to information about symptoms and treatments. For many common conditions, this will include key overview information provided by Mayo Clinic. This can include details about how common a condition is, risk factors associated with the condition, self-treatment options and guidance on when to seek medical care.
"At Mayo Clinic, we constantly seek to discover and share medical knowledge for the benefit of everyone," says Sandhya Pruthi, M.D., chief medical editor, Mayo Clinic Global Business Solutions. "Providing reliable and accessible health information at the digital consumers' initial point of need — such as through Google search — is a natural extension of Mayo Clinic and our health information website, MayoClinic.org."
Google reviewed health conditions mentioned in online search results and checked them against medical information it compiled from physicians. Google worked with teams of physicians to review individual symptom information, and expert clinicians at Mayo Clinic evaluated related conditions for a representative sample of searches to help improve Google's lists.
"Mayo Clinic has the opportunity to share useful and concise information with consumers," says Dr. Pruthi. "Google symptom search should be viewed as a more efficient exploration tool for individuals needing accurate health information, and as they seek more in-depth knowledge, they can quickly connect to trusted health information sources like MayoClinic.org."
The information is not intended to be medical advice or a diagnostic tool, and it is presented for informational purposes only. According to Dr. Pruthi, cases may vary in severity from person to person, and there are bound to be exceptions. She adds, consumers searching new symptoms and other health information should consult a health care professional if they have a medical concern or seek emergency medical care for more serious symptoms.