At this point, this blog has covered much of Apple's attempt to enter into healthcare with its mobile solutions and HealthKit app platform. There's another big tech company with eyes on medical care: Facebook. And just as with Apple, the grey area between private data and shared information makes this an important target for the debate on HIPAA violations.
Reuters recently reported on the steps that the social network is taking into healthcare, promoting group awareness of health issues and encouraging better habits. Although it's still testing the idea out, Facebook is reportedly considering health and fitness apps for use on its website. It also recently purchased an app, Moves, that helps users track their steps for fitness purposes.
Because its plans are still in development, the source says it may launch its first health-related operations "quietly and under a different name" to test for flaws. The CEO of Evolent Health, Frank Williams, told Reuters that there's potential for the site's plans to work as long as it doesn't overstep its bounds.
"I could see Facebook doing well with applications for lifestyle and wellness, but really sick patients with conditions like cancer aren't fooling around," he said.
Despite these reports, there are no official statements from the company at this time, and its likely that, as with HealthKit, providers will simply need to wait and see what the plans and possible applications really are.
With Facebook's privacy policies under fire from critics and mobile devices frequently targeted by malware, social media is another area that needs attention from providers for safe and successful compliance.