Telemedicine, here we come! Meet Google Helpouts: HIPAA-compliant Hangouts

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google helpoutsMix an mhealth service and telemedicine breakthrough with a dash of sci-fi dystopian transparency and fluidity (a la The Circle) and you get Google Helpouts: a HIPAA-compliant, secure, pay-per-use version of Google Hangouts (i.e., fancy video chats). According to Venture Beat, “This service marries the video chat features of Hangouts with the payment processing of Google Wallet, the identity management of Google+, and a slew of other Google service features. The end result is a gorgeous Frankenstein monster that lets you find expert help instantly via video.”

While Helpouts can be used for anything from getting a lawn care consultation to rock guitar lessons, the implications for telemedicine and healthcare are probably most significant. Prices can range from per minute to per session and are set by providers. Google takes a 20 percent cut via Google Wallet and voila. Customers are asked to write a review, moving one step closer to the future of healthcare, more toward consumers selecting doctors like they select restaurants – Which surgeon has the most stars?

The product will launch soon in the U.S., United Kingdom and Canada, according to Venture Beat.

Already, One Medical is offering free health and medical consultations for patients in certain states, with the option to enroll as a new patient. (Although, sorry, no controlled substances or psychiatric scrips.)

google one medical

According to the provider’s page:

One Medical Group is reinventing the doctor’s office experience by putting patients’ needs first. One Medical offers:

  • High-quality, comprehensive primary care
  • Same-day, on-time appointments at convenient locations
  • Direct email communication with doctors and staff
  • Online/mobile appointment scheduling, Rx renewals, and more

Here’s a video from Google showing a perfect world (in which we all live in pre-fab homes in California or New York) using the product for non-healthcare consultations.

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Lindsey Alexander

By Lindsey Alexander

Lindsey Alexander is an Indiana-based freelance writer and editor covering the medical device industry. She earned a degree in journalism from Indiana University and a master's from Purdue.
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