Google and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, have launched a new online tool to help patients plan for medical visits. The visit planning tool is built on the same evidence behind AHRQ’s QuestionBuilder app, making it easy for patients and those who care for them to privately list and prioritize their questions in preparation for a medical visit. When people use Google to search for a healthcare provider, they will have the option to create their own private visit plan.
Why does it matter?
When patients prepare for a medical visit, they’re more likely to have a high quality, efficient encounter and better physical and mental health outcomes.
In that sense, when you search for a local doctor’s office or hospital in Google, the new tool offer suggested questions designed to get people thinking about their goals and priorities for the visit. These questions are based on findings from dozens of patient safety research projects as well as AHRQ’s expertise on diagnostic testing and results, medication safety, safe transitions between care settings, and the importance of patient and family engagement in healthcare.
When you’re finished with the doctor’s visit preparation, there is an option to print or email the visit plan and bring it to the doctor’s office to help you remember important questions you want to ask. The visit plan also includes a reminder of things patients should bring to the visit, like a list of current medications, recent lab results, and their insurance card. The tool is private and secure: Google does not store any of the information.
On the record
“Patients who prepare for medical visits by prioritizing their questions, strengthen their role as members of their own health care team,” said Jeffrey Brady, M.D., M.P.H., a preventive medicine physician and Director of the Center for Quality Improvement and Patient Safety at the AHRQ. Dr. Brady added, “This helps clinicians maximize their time with patients so they can better address their most critical health needs. Clinicians appreciate that healthcare can be more efficient, effective, and higher quality when they work together with patients.”
This is just the latest move from Google in the healthcare space. The company has big plans to help change healthcare for the better with its set of products and services. We are detailing some of their initiatives in our brand new report “Introduction to Digital Health.” It is readily available for purchase…