Facebook is adding a new tool to help US users get more proactive about their health. Users will be able to search for Preventive Health in the mobile app and gain access to a wealth of resources for their age and sex. The firm says users will be able to “find out which checkups, such as cholesterol tests or mammograms, are recommended for them” and that “[r]eminders for flu shots will also appear at the appropriate time of year.”
Facebook also has an incredible amount of data on every user, so it should be reasonably able to narrow down who needs what based on criteria drawn from leading health providers and the US health organisations it’s partnered with.
“The tool allows people to mark when tests are completed, set reminders to schedule future tests and tell loved ones about the tool to increase awareness of preventive care. People can also learn more about each checkup and find affordable places to receive care,” the firm said on Monday.
Facebook still has privacy in mind, and users will be kept abreast of how their data is used (or not used in this case). Facebook’s Erin Egan explained:
Preventive Health uses your age and sex to suggest checkups recommended by health organizations. Your age and sex is based on your Facebook profile by default, but you can change these in the Preventive Health tool.
To help you keep track of your checkups, we collect information you provide, such as when you set reminders or mark a screening as done. We also log more general activity, like frequency of clicks for a specific button, which allows us to understand how the tool is being used, in order to improve it over time.
Of course, if you find it hard to trust Facebook in general, offering it your health data voluntarily may be a bridge too far. The feature seems limited to the United States at the moment but Facebook says it plans to roll out with more countries, likely pending local support.