Google to Unveil New Health Updates at Annual ‘Check Up’ Event


Google is unveiling new Search features, as well as advancements in artificial intelligence projects aimed at increasing health care access at The Check Up, the annual event put on by Google Health. You can watch it starting at 8 a.m. PT/11 a.m. ET. 

The company said it aims to make it easier to find re-enrollment information for Medicaid, a health insurance program for people with limited income, when you open Google to search. During the pandemic, requirements to re-enroll were put on pause but go into effect at the end of this month.

As PBS reports, when your health care coverage may be affected depends on which state you live in, but you’ll need to confirm your personal information, eligibility requirements and the rest to stay insured. Google says an improved Search update will help with that by making it easier to find renewal information and log in to your state portal.

On the mental health front, Google says it’s increasing the number of crisis helplines at the top of Google searches that relate to suicide, domestic violence and other crises. It’ll partner on the initiative with ThroughLine. 

Google also says it’s expanding some of its AI projects with more medical partners with the hopes of increasing health equality. One of these partnerships is with Jacaranda, a nonprofit in Kenya, with aims to develop simplified ultrasounds with less expensive equipment through AI and improve outcomes for pregnant women and their children. Training workers with expensive ultrasound equipment may be a health care barrier in some parts of the world with higher maternal mortality rates. 

Further dipping AI into medical diagnostics, Google says the company is partnering with the Mayo Clinic to develop an improved method of “contouring” for radiotherapy used in cancer treatment. Because radiotherapy uses a high dose of radiation to kill cancer cells, careful steps by the health care team must be taken to outline or “contour” the tumor to limit radiation in surrounding parts of the body. Google says its AI will hopefully save the care team time during this process. 

A better tuberculosis-screening method and an ultrasound that can detect breast cancer are fellow AI projects of Google — though there’s no timeline yet for when any of them will be available for patients beyond the research stage. 

This report will be updated at the end of The Check Up. 

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