Google has partnered with the Australian Health Service (AHS) to provide health-related information to Australian doctors.
The service, which launched in June, will work alongside the National Health Service to provide doctors with the latest and most up-to-date information.
Google has also been testing the system with Australian patients and their family members, and has received positive feedback from doctors, the Australian Medical Association (AMA) and the Health Service.
In the next few weeks, Google will begin rolling out a wider set of information to healthcare professionals, such as health information, medical research, patient safety and quality of care.
Google says its system has already collected information on the health of more than 9,000 Australians and more than 15,000 healthcare workers.
The AMA says it has received more than 100 calls from Australian doctors to request information, including from people who have lost a loved one to the coronavirus.
AMA chief executive David Thodey says while it’s important for healthcare professionals to be able to quickly access information, it is vital for them to have confidence in the system.
“There are thousands of doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals across the country who work with the AHS, who have a right to know what’s going on with their patients and they need to know that their information is being shared securely,” he said.
“We’re pleased that we’re providing this information to doctors, to their families, and to the public, in the hope that it will inform the health and wellbeing of patients and to provide the best care for our patients.”
The system, called the National Provider Locator Service (NPLS), is being rolled out across all state and territory health systems.
Dr Michael Lai, the health care officer at the AMA, said the service has been an invaluable tool in the fight against the coronivirus.
“While it’s an important tool in keeping patients informed, it’s also a valuable tool for ensuring that the health system can continue to provide timely, quality health care to our community,” he told ABC News.
Dr Lai said the NPLS would be rolled out to the Australian Capital Territory, Western Australia, Queensland, New South Wales, South Australia and Tasmania.
The National Provider Location Service (NPLS), a similar service to Google’s, is also being rolled-out across the states.
Dr Thodeys said he hoped the system would be used by all Australian healthcare professionals.
“The National Provider Locate Service is a very effective tool for all Australian health professionals, and it will be rolled-in to all Australian public hospitals and all healthcare facilities,” he added.
Google is the largest search engine in the world and operates in more than 200 countries, including China, India, Indonesia, Mexico, South Africa and the United States.
Google said it was not providing any health-care-related advertisements or links to the system at this time.
Health experts say it will take years before the system is ready for prime time, but that Google is doing everything it can to help.
“I think they’re in a pretty good place at this point,” Professor Scott Fauci, chief executive of the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, said.
Google’s announcement came amid a growing debate in Australia about the need for a national health service.
In a statement to the ABC, Mr Thodeies said Google would be providing the system to hospitals and clinics as it rolled out its other services.
“Google has been working closely with our Australian health service partners and AHS to help the public better understand the system, including by providing information on our data to doctors,” he wrote.