Billions of people use Facebook every day, and more and more, they’re using it to find information.
As a longtime leader in preventive care, the American Heart Association is a go-to source for credible, science-based information on heart and brain health. That’s why Facebook came to us, along with a handful of other major health organizations, for guidance, content and resources for a new tool to help people better manage their health.
The interactive tool, which launched Oct. 28, connects Facebook users with health resources and checkup reminders from the American Heart Association, the American College of Cardiology, the American Cancer Society and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Simply search for “preventive health” in the Facebook mobile app to find out which tests — such as a cholesterol screening or mammogram — are recommended based on your age and gender. You can also track when tests are done, set reminders for future tests, find screening locations and tell your friends about the tool.
Eduardo Sanchez, M.D., the AHA’s chief medical officer for prevention, said the new tool will “empower millions of people to take action to lower blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol, which has been shown to increase the chance of a longer, healthier life.”
Most of the recommended preventive measures are free with insurance coverage. For those who don’t have insurance, Facebook offers a way to find a Federally Qualified Health Center, which provides care to people regardless of ability to pay.
“Health is particularly personal, so we took privacy and safety into account from the beginning,” said Freddy Abnousi, M.D., Facebook’s head of health care research. The tool doesn’t provide Facebook or the health organizations access to your actual test results.
Social media can have a direct influence on people’s health care decisions, such as seeking a second opinion or choosing a specific provider, according to a PricewaterhouseCoopers study. This is especially true for people who have a chronic condition or are trying to manage their diet, exercise or stress. So a global social media platform that many people spend hours on each day is a natural place to address prevention.