Facebook launches a new feature that shows users in the United States a list of recommended preventive controls, sets reminders and links users to local providers of these services.
Born of partnerships with the American Cancer Society, the American College of Cardiology, the American Heart Association and the CDC, Facebook’s Preventive Health tool translates the clinical guidelines from each of these organizations into generalized checklists and reminders that are easier for the average Facebook user to act upon.
Recommendations for screening and checklists are generated based on the users’ age and gender. The tool then provides a map of nearby medical centres where users can receive the recommended services. The tool also includes a map of the centres where it is possible to receive a flu vaccination that has been developed by Boston Children’s.
Users can also share the tool with their Facebook friends to encourage others to understand the importance of prevention and look for medical centres to perform examinations.
The tool is limited to promoting prevention and providing information. Data relating to the use of this feature is not shared with third parties or used to select advertisements. Facebook also declares that it will never have access to any of the results or data generated by the tool that are protected and limited to the strict minimum. A particular care to privacy has been taken since the design of the tool.
The tool is now only available in the USA, but Facebook intends to extend this functionality to other countries, after an initial testing phase of 6 – 12 months.
Promoting prevention through Facebook would have a strong impact on the health of the more than 2 billion active monthly users of the social network.
Considering only heart disease and cancer, 1.3 million lives are lost In the United States alone; a significant part of these could be saved by prevention.