Google Tests Telehealth Waters With New Helpouts

Yesterday, Google introduced Helpouts, a platform that allows for the exchange of free or paid advice or instruction using video chat technology. Verified instructors or providers are able to interact with clients to teach a new skill, offer advice — or even provide a medical consultation.

The Helpouts support HIPAA compliance and business associate agreements with Google are available to providers that wish to offer healthcare services through a Helpout (and who have been vetted and verified by Google). Additionally, health-related, HIPAA-compliant Helpouts do not currently carry the 20 percent transaction fee levied on other Helpouts, meaning providers using the service keep the entire amount paid by the user.

According to a Fast Company report, these features are designed to attract healthcare providers to the service, and Google sees the potential for Helpouts to significantly impact the healthcare industry.

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