Will Google Search help doctors search EMRs?

Engadget and CNBC both recently published articles discussing the potential goals of the new Google Health division headed by Dr. David Feinberg.

Dr Feinberg spoke at the HLTH conference in Las Vegas in October 2019 and discussed the Google Health team’s focus points and strategy.

One focus of the Google Health team may be to port the Google Search algorithms to electronic medical records to allow physicians to search through a patients medical record easily. Google Search would be a welcomed extreme improvement on the current status of EMR “searchability” in several aspects.

I’ve suffered worked with several of the frustrating more popular EMRs and the ability to search contextually thru the content of the patient’s medical record is extremely limited in most cases. This limitation poses a significant limitation on physicians to provide the best care to patients if it’s difficult to find important information buried in a hospital discharge summary or in a consultant’s note from several years ago.

“Searchability” of certain records, such as radiology reports could also be used by a more limited AI process to flag abnormal reports and bring them to the attention of the treating physician. The ability to search and identify may potentially prevent physicians from missing a potential harmful diagnosis such as incidental lung nodule on a chest x-ray or enlarged lymph nodes on a CT scan that require further follow-up by the primary care physician, but might not need immediate action while admitted to the hospital.

Google’s entry into the health space may even pressure the current EMR companies to step up their EMR improvements into something that is usable by physicians.

Here’s the full talk on YouTube by Dr David Feinberg at the HLTH Conference:

About the Author

John Martinez, M.D.

Primary Care Sports Medicine physician with an engineering background interested in digital health and technology solutions in medicine.

Assistant Medical Director, Ironman Triathlon World Championships (Kona)
Medical Director, USA Triathlon Paralympic Team
Medical Director, USA Blind Soccer and Goalball

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