The search titan is partnering with providers such as Scripps Health, San Diego, and startups like One Medical Group, San Francisco. The service will be available through Google's Hangouts feature. For the moment, at least, Google will pay for associated costs so the service will be free to users.
Google's spokeswoman did not respond to questions regarding the duration of the pilot or licensure issues. One Medical Group and Scripps Health confirmed participation in the pilot.
The pilot is another foray into a burgeoning electronic or virtual visits market. A recent report from consulting and accounting firm Deloitte estimated that approximately 75 million e-visits would occur in 2014 in North America, roughly 25% of their estimated addressable market.
Providers such as Kaiser Permanente have seen strong demand for such visits. Mayo Clinic is piloting a kiosk program that allows patients to remotely visit doctors with video and medical devices close at hand.
Google, through its speculative R&D division, Google [x], has invested in a smart contact lens, which would help diabetics continuously monitor glucose levels without having to prick the skin. It also has announced a Baseline project to monitor healthy patients' vital signs and biomarkers to see what differentiates them from sicker patients, with the goal of investing in wellness and prevention. Google also has spun off a startup, Calico, whose intention is to develop products to inhibit aging.
Follow Darius Tahir on Twitter: @dariustahir