A few weeks ago, we wrote about a partnership between Google and the World Health Organisation (WHO) to make accurate and useful information more easily viewable when people searched for the the coronavirus (COVID-19) in Chrome. Now Google has entered into a similar partnership with the NHS in the UK.

The partnership is not limited to COVID-19, however, with the NHS producing what it terms as “knowledge panels” for 250 different health-related searches.

“Beginning this week, when you search for health conditions like  chickenpox, back pain, or the common cold, you can find Knowledge Panels with information from the NHS website that help you understand more about common causes, treatments and more,” Google’s product manager for Search, Geordy Kitchen, writes.

“These Knowledge Panels aim to give people authoritative, locally trusted health information, based on open source content. The NHS has formatted their content so that it’s easy to find on the web and available publicly to anyone via the NHS website—Google is one of more than 2,000 organizations using NHS website content to provide trusted information to people looking for it,” Kitchen adds.

The new feature is already available to some users in the UK, but a fully fledged rollout it is expected in the coming days.

Google and the NHS are not treating these knowledge panels as gospel though, and still urging users to seek the assistance and treatment of professionals should they be concerned with a particular condition or illness they may be presenting with.

“Of course, they’re not intended to provide medical advice, and we encourage anyone searching for health information to seek guidance from a doctor if they have a medical concern or, in an emergency, call local emergency services immediately,” Kitchen concludes.

We have to side with both parties on that front, especially as we are not medical professionals either. With South Africa’s current number of confirmed coronavirus cases sitting at 13, it’s becoming increasingly important that the correct information is available.

[Image – Photo by Mitchell Luo on Unsplash]