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Google’s Health Equity Summit highlights YouTube project, expands healthcare search options

The news: Google announced several projects aimed at addressing health equity at its Health Equity Summit.

We detail 3 key announcements below:

1. YouTube-powered health education

YouTube Health is developing a video series called THE-IQ with the Kaiser Family Foundation to address health equity in mental health, maternal health, and healthcare access. It will launch in November.

  • The Loveland Foundation will create a video series on mental health access for Black women and girls.
  • Meanwhile, Satcher Health Leadership Institute will create a video series on the root causes of health inequities focusing on data challenges. And the National Birth Equity Collaborative will develop a video on how to improve health outcomes of Black mothers and birthing people.

2. Easier Search for government benefits

Google updated its Search functionality to let users filter results for providers that accept Medicaid. It already lets patients search for Medicare providers, but has created the new filter option to make it easier to find these providers.

  • For context, 81.9 million people receive Medicaid coverage as of May 2022, according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).

3. Fairer healthcare through Fitbit

Google is expanding the Fitbit Health Equity Research Initiative to include new academic and nonprofit research on health disparities. Winners get Fitbit devices, Premium memberships, Google Cloud credits, or funding. Academic research on wearables like Fitbit can not only make care more equitable but fill a critical gap in documenting patient health. And more than half of device owners are willing to share this information.

  • 55% of device owners share their data with medical providers through apps, in-person visits, or text and email, according to Deloitte’s Connectivity and Mobile Trends Survey in the first quarter of 2022.

The big takeaway: Improving access to medical information can make healthcare more equitable.

In a blog post, Dr. Ivor Horn, Google’s director of health equity and social determinants of health, calls information a “determinant of health” and notes how Google can help patients access health information and ask questions. As it provides key health information, Google has been turning both Search and YouTube into consumer health tools.

  • 70% of US adults said they use a search engine such as Google to research information on health and wellness, per a March 2022 Dentsu study conducted by consumer intelligence platform Toluna.

Go deeper: Read more about Alphabet’s healthcare initiatives in The Power of Google report.

This article originally appeared in Insider Intelligence's Digital Health Briefing—a daily recap of top stories reshaping the healthcare industry. Subscribe to have more hard-hitting takeaways delivered to your inbox daily.