25 Google Tips and Tricks for Healthcare Professionals

by Linda on December 31, 2009

As a busy healthcare professional, you need all the help you can get to find what you need quickly. In additional to providing easy access to billions of Web pages, Google provides additional features as well as new search options just announced within the past few months — all tips that you can use in your profession as well as share with your patients or clients.

Instead of searching for those options yourself, we’ve scouted out the best twenty-five Google tips and tricks for healthcare professionals and listed them below. These tips are categorized by search tips, tips for your mobile and Google and other Google options. The links and tips are not listed in any particular order within those categories.

Google Search Tips

  1. Google Health Onebox: To see information about a common disease or symptom, enter it into the search box and Google will return the beginning of an expert summary. You can click through to read the entire article in Google Health. It is better if you use defined terms, such as “conjunctivitis” rather than “pink eye.”
  2. Find Related Information: To find information related to conjunctivitis, type: related:conjunctivitis.
  3. Precise Search: To find searches related to conjunctivitis without a plural or synonyms, type: +conjunctivitis; to find conjunctivitis without any pink eye references, type: +conjunctivitis -pink eye. To find information about conjunctivitis without reference to pink eye or to cats, type: +conjunctivitis -pink eye -cats.
  4. Poison Control Phone Number: You can quickly find the U.S. poison control hotline (1-800-222-1222) by entering “poison control” or similar phrases into the search box.
  5. Flu Shot Search: During flu season, search for “flu” to find tips on how to stay healthy from U.S. Health and Human Services and a flu shot locater, which uses Google Maps to show you nearby locations offering seasonal and/or H1N1 flu vaccine.
  6. Relevant Updates: In the left side of a Google search page, you will see a link for “Show Options.” If you click on that link, a sidebar will appear that offers more searches on your topic through news, visited pages, related searches, time lines and much more — including updates from Twitter and Friendfeed on that topic under the link for “Updates.” Be sure to “reset options” to resume a new search (link located at the bottom of the options sidebar).
  7. Wonder Wheel: When you use the options sidebar, you’ll see a link for the “Wonder wheel.” If you are looking for contagious diseases, click on that link to find the most recent searches specific to contagious diseases contained in a wheel graphic. In our search, those diseases included pneumonia, AIDS and strep throat.
  8. Google Trends: Visit Google Trends to learn more about current hot topics, such as health care reform. When you click on one of those links, you’ll see a preview of some newer search options provided by Google, including a “Latest results” that offers real-time updates from Twitter and Friendfeed that are included under the news search at the top of the page.
  9. Google Insights: Type in a search word and, in the drop-down menu to the right, choose “health” to learn more about the interest in your topic on a global basis. You also can refine the search to local or regional areas.

Google for Mobiles

  1. Get Google: Type m.google.com into your phone’s browser or visit this link to download Google into your phone.
  2. Google SMS: Simply text message a search query to GOOGLE (”466453″ on most devices) to receive results.
  3. Goog-411: Google’s new 411 service is fast, free and easy to use. You can use this feature from any phone to find businesses and connect to that business at no charge.
  4. Google Goggles: No need to type a search if you own an Android. Just take a photo, turn on ‘visual search history’, and use that photo to find directions, to log in contact information (from a business card) and more.
  5. Contacts: Never lose another important number or contact information with Google Suggest. Once you build your database, it is safe even if you lose or break your Android phone.
  6. Mobile Search Tips: Google provides Android users with a list of tips on how to search using Android. Use the drop-down menu at the top of the page to switch phones to Blackberry, iPhone and more choices.
  7. Google SMS Health Tips: Find tips on sexual & reproductive health (family planning, maternal & child health, HIV/AIDS, STI/STDs, sexuality) with a short descriptive question or some keywords to 6001.
  8. Search by Voice: On some mobiles — Android, specifically — you can conduct searches by voice. While this tool is in English only, a new Japanese version will be available soon.

Other Google Options

  1. Google Medical Search: Eliminate a lot of spam and commercial links by using this search engine (although Google’s new sidebar option allows you to eliminate much of that commercial linkage as well).
  2. Google MT: This search engine, based upon Google, was designed for medical transcriptionists.
  3. Google Health Directory: This link provides a page for you to search through a directory categorized by various health topics.
  4. Google Health Groups: If you want to tap into group conversations about various health topics, use this list to find what you need in various languages and territories.
  5. Health Knol: This link leads to a current search for health results at Knol (beta).
  6. Use Google Health: Google now allows users to share information via email, but does not allow that link to work in forwarded emails to safeguard patient privacy. Follow the links to Google Health Partners and their services directory to learn more about who is involved with this online health record process.
  7. GMDesk: This application allows you to run Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Docs and Google Maps as a stand-alone operation that does not need a Web browser or that clutters your work space. This app runs on Adobe AIR.
  8. Google Wave: Last, but not least, the newest Google tool for collaboration and real-time conversations. Use Google Wave for office interaction, client help and building a business.

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