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At Google, it doesn’t get much more fundamental than search. What better place for the company to show its struggling health efforts are back on track?

At its annual health event on Thursday, Google announced a new search engine feature that will show available appointments for participating medical practices, not unlike how users can check movie times and dinner reservations directly from a business profile in search. The new feature plays to Google’s strengths in search, as the company works to bolster its health efforts following an embarrassing reshuffle last year, which included the dismantling of the Google Health organization and the departure of its leader, David Feinberg.


When it launches in coming weeks, the feature will show appointments for CVS MinuteClinics, and Google is partnering with third-party scheduling tools Kyruus and Stericycle Communications Solutions, which providers can use to pipe their availability into the search engine. Experts told STAT that the feature — which will be free for providers to take part in — has the potential to help match patients to physicians more efficiently, but also caution that even something as seemingly simple as an appointment booking service can be challenging in a complex health care system.

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