Facebook Considering Health Care-Related Moves, Sources Say
October 4, 2014 in News
Facebook is considering ways to leverage its online platform for health care-related services, according to three individuals familiar with the discussions, Reuters reports.
The sources, who asked to remain anonymous, said that Facebook in recent months has been meeting with health care industry entrepreneurs and experts. In addition, the company is creating a research and development team that will test new health applications.
Health Care Details
The sources said that Facebook is still in the early stages of data gathering but is considering:
- Creating “preventive care” applications that would help users make healthier lifestyle choices; and
- Establishing Web-based “support communities” that would allow individuals to connect with other users with various medical conditions.
According to Reuters, it is not clear if the support communities would be moderated or curated by Facebook, or if outside health professionals would be recruited to provide them with additional context.
Some users have criticized Facebook’s handling of privacy issues, which could hinder the company’s health care goals, Reuters reports.
To address the issue, a source said that Facebook is evaluating whether to release its first health-related application discretely and under a different name.
In addition, Facebook’s recent decision to allow users to not use their real names could make individuals, particularly those with chronic conditions, more willing to share health information on the company’s platform, according to Reuters (Farr/Oreskovic, Reuters, 10/3).