Facebook's Preventive Health tool urges you to take screening tests

It can recommend you preventive tests based on your age and sex.

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Mariella Moon
October 29th, 2019

Facebook has launched a new health-focused tool a few months after making its blood donation feature more widely available in the US. It's called Preventive Health, and it was designed to urge you to become more proactive about your health. The social network says you can use the tool on its mobile app to find out what kind of preventive screenings are recommended for your sex and age -- say, blood sugar and cholesterol tests or a mammogram -- by the US health organizations it worked with.

At the moment the tool focuses on tests related to heart disease and cancer, the top two leading causes of death in the US, and on flu that affects millions each year. You'll be able to set a reminder for your checkup if you scheduled one for a particular recommended test, or mark it as done.


Facebook says the tests the tool recommends are free of charge with insurance coverage, but it can also point you to low-cost options if you need them. If your phone's Location Services are switched on, you'll be able to use the tool to find Federally Qualified Health Centers near you. It can also point you to convenient locations where you can get flu shots, such as grocery stores, pharmacies and urgent care clinics.


Finally, since Facebook's history is marred by numerous privacy issues, the company is trying to preempt concerns by stressing that Preventive Health doesn't provide the company access to your test results. It also says that it won't share your activity within the tool with third parties, including health organizations and insurance companies. Finally, the company claims it won't show ads based on the info you provide, such as what tests you choose to take.

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