What is a national portal

National health portal is ranked at the top on Google

Berlin. The national health portal, which was launched in September, is to be found quickly using the Google search engine with its evidence-based information on health topics. This provides for a cooperation between the Federal Ministry of Health (BMG) and the search engine provider Google, which was presented on Tuesday morning at a press conference in Berlin.

"What use is it to you if you bring together the best evidence-based information and put it on an Internet portal if no one can find it, but when in doubt everyone ends up with information that is less evidence-based?" Asked Federal Health Minister Jens Spahn (CDU) at the event . Therefore he is "grateful" for the cooperation.

Google accesses an open interface in the health portal. In the case of a medical keyword search, the search engine will in future present the answers from the national health portal gesundheit.bund.de in a prominently highlighted information box. These information boxes - so-called knowledge panels for health topics - are already available for more than 160 diseases. A link took users directly to the relevant article in the National Health Portal.

The project started under Spahn's predecessor

The national health portal was initiated under the former health minister Hermann Gröhe (CDU), who launched an alliance for health literacy in 2017. The aim is to prepare reliable, understandable, up-to-date and evidence-based information on health topics in a clear manner. The initiative's partners include the Institute for Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG), the Robert Koch Institute and the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ).

"The corona pandemic shows us, like in a magnifying glass, how important reliable health information is. Because only those who have well-founded information can protect themselves and others, ”explained Spahn in Berlin.

At the press conference based on data from the search engine, Philipp Justus, Vice President Google Central Europe, reported that the search for health information on the Internet is becoming more and more important.

Big increase in the search for health topics

Interest in health topics has risen constantly in recent years - by 19 percent in the past two years alone. During the same period, the search term “symptom” recorded an increase of 84 percent, “almost doubled,” said Justus. Since April, topics such as “migraines” (plus five percent) and “allergies” (plus nine percent) have also been searched more frequently.

Together with the BMG, Google has worked together over the past few months to provide people with current and verified information about the coronavirus quickly and easily at any time. "We are now expanding this collaboration to include many other health topics," said Justus.

Minister Spahn emphasized that the cooperation is not about data exchange with patient data, but only about serious information for patients. "If someone searches for migraines in the future and then goes to the health portal, Google will not know any more about them than before," emphasized Spahn. The cooperation with the BMG is also fundamentally open to other search engines. Other providers could also use the interface, explained Justus in Berlin. (ger)