On Tuesday, Facebook's unveiled its new Preventive Health tool, which works as a digital reminder to see your doctor and help you find nearby medical practitioners. Freddy Abnousi, the head of Facebook's healthcare research, tells TechCrunch the new initiative stemmed from the fact that preventable illnesses, like influenza or heart disease (one of the leading causes of death in the U.S.), affect millions of Americans each year.
Facebook worked with several health organizations to create the tool, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, American Heart Association, American College of Cardiology, and the American Cancer Society. Facebook's Preventive Health takes recommendations on proactive healthcare from these organizations and targets specific individuals based on factors such as age and gender. Facebook users will also be able to keep track of recent medical testing and—of course—share any updates with friends (if they want).
Likely anticipating that some people might be wary in light of recent privacy concerns, the company released a statement explaining how personal medical information will remain just that. “Health is particularly personal, so we took privacy and safety into account from the beginning. For example, Preventive Health allows you to set reminders for your future checkups and mark them as done, but it doesn’t provide us, or the health organizations we’re working with, access to your actual test results,” the company wrote in a statement. “Personal information about your activity in Preventive Health is not shared with third parties, such as health organizations or insurance companies, so it can’t be used for purposes like insurance eligibility.”
While annual exams might seem like a chore, preventive care is of critical importance to your overall wellbeing. Checkups and regular screenings can help identify potentially life-threatening diseases early, or could work to prevent them all together.
Considering that the number of millennials without a regular doctor is growing, this new tool could have a major impact. You know, if Facebook can get millennials to actually keep their Facebook accounts. TikTok Preventive Health, anyone?
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