By: Waqaar Khawar
As a part of Google’s continuing effort to improve their search, they have added medications to the Knowledge Graph.
Now, when you search for “Tylenol,” you are greeted with a summary of information about the drug that you might find useful.
It’s worth noting that this feature doesn’t seem to be fully implemented yet. When I searched for “tylenol,” I was able to see the new information that Google added. The same search from my editor’s computer did not yield the same results. This is likely to be a non-issue in the very near future.
“The Knowledge Graph enables you to search for things, people or places that Google knows about—landmarks, celebrities, cities, sports teams, buildings, geographical features, movies, celestial objects, works of art and more—and instantly get information that’s relevant to your query.”
Included in the information about a specific drug are links to information about side effects, warnings, and how to use the drug. Also included are other names of the drug, pregnancy risk, drug class, and other drugs in the same class.
Surely for legal reasons, there is a warning below the drug description that tells the reader to “Consult a doctor if you have a medical concern.” This blanket statement brings up the issue of what patients might do with this information.
As medical information becomes more easily available to patients, concerns of self-diagnosis and self-treatment by patients grow. It is important for patients to learn about the drugs they use so that they are used properly and not abused. At the same time, it is equally important for patients to consult their doctors and pharmacists when they have a concern about their own treatment.