How Google is trying to keep monkeypox myths from flourishing – Boston, Massachusetts

Boston, Massachusetts 2022-05-24 20:03:50 –

SFrancisco — Karen Desalvo’s latest challenge was monkeypox, a nanometer-sized viral envelope.

Since becoming Google’s first Chief Health Officer in 2019, DeSalvo has overseen programs ranging from AI-enabled diagnostics to patient recording. But more and more, tech giants rethink some of their greatest goals in health, Long time Executives and their dissolution Single-minded Health-focused department, her focus is Shift to the consumer..

Since the beginning of the pandemic, and since the dust storm of false information it caused, the company has focused on how to ensure that people have the best and most accurate information available. So Google had a guide when a virus that was rarely seen outside Africa recently began to spread in the United States and Europe.


“Monkeypox has arrived. The first thing that comes to mind is okay. Well, what’s the myth we’re looking for or the harmful things that could start to last?” She STAT on Tuesday. He spoke in an interview with STAT Executive Editor Rick Burke at the Health Tech Summit.

The playbook created with Covid-19 included some steps to guide Google employees in the right direction. The algorithm pushes sites with incorrect information or harmful treatment to the bottom. Displays a button indicating the side effects of the vaccine or the site of vaccination.


It also included teaming up with YouTube influencers (the video site is also owned by Google) to reach people who may not have heard from National Institutes of Health staff.

Monkeypox, She said, so rare to see in Europe and America, there was very little content available to promote. “Now let’s start thinking about what the CDC, WHO, or someone else already has, and how can we start working to get better information?” She said.

On Tuesday, a Google search for “monkeypox” finds articles such as the CNN, Associated Press, Washington Post, and a dropdown that answers common questions in the CDC, World Health Organization, or health-focused paragraphs. The menu continued. website.

It looks less ambitious than previous efforts to convert electronic medical records, agingDeSalvo argued that these consumer and search-oriented efforts could be an important tool in creating a more equitable healthcare system.

“Information is a determinant of health,” said De Salvo, a physician who previously served as New Orleans Health Commissioner and Chief Health Officer of the Obama administration. “So people come online to understand, what is diabetes? Where can I care for it? These are all important.”

Beyond infectious diseases, she said the company has made great efforts to make such information available on mental health. This work is in line with purchases made by Google, including Fitbit’s $ 2.1 billion acquisition of Fitbit, which can provide patients with heart rate, exercise, and other detailed personal data.

“Basically what can help you get a doctor in your pocket,” she said.

The tricky part is that there is no easy answer. Much of science and medicine does not focus on whether vaccines contain microchips, but authorities are clear about the efficacy of certain drugs and the prevalence and pathology of certain diseases. Unable to give an answer, DeSalvo admitted that Google is much more detailed and difficult to walk.

“It’s an intermediate space we’re working on to make sure we’re doing a better job every day,” she said.

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