Facebook wants in on healthcare

Google, Apple, HTC, Philips and many others have recently entered the medical technology and healthcare market with devices and apps that help you monitor biometrics as well as actually offer treatment, like Philips and HTC medical tech devices. Facebook has apparently noticed the emerging new trend and decided to get in on the fun.

It seems that Facebook will be joining the likes of Apple and Google with its own healthcare app and platform which will allow users to monitor their fitness and health biometrics. Facebook hasn’t announced a name for the new service yet, it would be fun if it were called HealthBook or something similar, but I doubt it. Facebook will nonetheless face fierce competition that has already established itself in the health care market and already has dedicated apps and gadgets on the market.

Facebook also plans to cater to users who like to ask around on social media for health related fixes and issues, so that people would stop taking medical advice from self-certified internet-doctor-characters. Facebook is reportedly planning to set up a new online community where people with health related questions can congregate and discuss their problems, and even receive professional counseling from certified doctors that are forum members.

Facebook plans to organize these online communities in such a way, that people with similar illnesses and complaints can find the appropriate space to discuss their issues with. The idea is not new, but maybe if Facebook is doing it, it will work better than other medical online forums you can find at the moment. I think it’s a good idea because many people would rather not talk about their illnesses or health in front of somebody, and if Facebook were to provide an anonymous space were people could discuss what’s bothering them, it would be a means to lighten up certain individuals who have been plagued by their conditions. A Facebook health forum would also allow for leisurely talks among medical professionals about treatment opportunities, job opportunities, new ideas and new approaches with patients.

A Facebook health forum would also facilitate a more relaxed communication between doctor and patient, allowing room for conversation that will not have negative consequences (hopefully). Facebook will have to make these forums private though, so it won’t be able to use its aggressive data collecting algorithms and profiling tools, because forum members would come to Facebook in confidence. Just as they would to a psychologist. I wonder what will become of this new idea from Facebook. Would you join a Facebook medical community? Would you let Facebook monitor your health or are you worried that it won’t keep your data private? I admit, I would be.