Thanks to a recent collaboration between the American College of Cardiology (ACC) and Google, an internet search for heart conditions will now display helpful questions that patients should ask their doctors. The questions are all based on well-established clinical guidelines.
These days, the internet tends to be the first place we turn to when we have questions about our health. Approximately 1 in 20 internet searches on Google are related to health. No matter the topic, a simple search unfolds page after page about even the rarest conditions. While it’s wonderful to have so much information at our fingertips, it can be difficult to distinguish what’s accurate and what to do with the information we find.
The new partnership between Google and the ACC will help turn education into action, enhancing engagement between patients and providers. With contributions from leading experts around the country, the organizations created lists of essential questions related to heart conditions like heart attack, hypertension and high cholesterol.
These questions are featured in Google’s “Ask a Doctor” section, which is included in the Google Health Knowledge Graphs—an automatic search result that appears for health related conditions. These graphs will also include a link to CardioSmart.org, the ACC’s patient website.
“This is a unique opportunity to marry the broad reach and power of Google’s Internet search engine with the clinical and scientific expertise of the ACC,” said ACC Chief Innovation Officer John Rumsfeld, MD, PhD, FACC. “This project makes it easier for the public to get accurate answers to health and medical care questions, and will aid in promoting engagement between patients and their clinicians.”
Ultimately, experts note that the information is not intended to provide medical advice for internet goers. Rather, the goal is to share reliable information based on the latest clinical guidelines and promote communication between patients and their doctors. Experts also hope that the questions will prompt information sharing between friends and family who may have heart disease—the No. 1 killer of men and women in the United States. After all, the more we understand about the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of heart disease and other conditions, the more we can do to improve our own health.