Google will soon enable patients to view appointment availability for participating healthcare providers directly from its search page, the technology giant announced Thursday.
The new feature, unveiled at Google's annual The Check Up health event, adds appointment availability to business profile boxes that display when users search for a physician or healthcare facility. Patients will be able to click on an appointment slot, which redirects them to the third-party partner's website and means they're not booking a visit through Google itself.
Google has partnered with CVS Health to display appointments for its MinuteClinic locations. The company also is working with scheduling vendors such as Kyruus and Stericycle Communication Solutions to enable appointments with their provider customers.
Google is in the early stages of rolling out the feature and plans to add more partners, Jackie DeJesse, a Google product manager, said during a call with reporters. "This is part of our broader work with partners to provide helpful healthcare information on search," she said.
The appointment availability feature will roll out nationwide in a few weeks, DeJesse said. It will initially be available only in English. The new feature builds on an announcement Google made in December that patients soon will be able to search for nearby doctors while filtering for what health insurance the physicians accept and what languages are spoken at their practices.
Google unwound its Google Health division in August, opting instead to redistribute its health efforts across its research, search and device divisions.