The potential of open graph facebook health apps

So, in looking at the latest wave of open graph Facebook apps, there is an obvious window for health companies, such as WebMD, to introduce a health app that would require minimal manual input on the part of the user.  Traditionally, health apps have required users to input data in order to really make use of the apps, but I’d say that the open graph is an opportunity to not only require less of users, but also give them more of what they want/need in the process.

As we discussed in class, open graph Facebook applications are becoming a great way for company’s to get more website and Facebook traffic and interaction.  Here’s the article on the success of early open graph apps that we talked about in class.  As you can see, the health category has nothing. Zilp. Zinch. Nada.  Another article I found talks about a whole slew of media companies that are jumping on board with the open graph Facebook app movement.  Again, there is no mention of a health-related website or app out there taking advantage of the open graph.  In looking again on Facebook, however, I did find one health-related category: fitness.  There are currently two open graph apps available to users: MapMyFitness and RunKeeper.

I also searched around online and found many, many mobile apps about health.  While most of them focused on food and nutrition, wellness and fitness, they require a lot of from users.  A user must actively want to log in and input information to gain anything from using these apps.

So why is there a delay in getting any sort of health app, beyond the fitness category, out there for users?  It seems like common sense to me.

The Facebook Developer’s website says this about what makes the original apps on the open graph worthwhile for users:

These apps have a few things in common. They’re built around something people care about and identify with, they enable people to share things they want their friends to see, and they provide easy ways to control the social experience.

This gives me a lot to think about in terms of a WebMD opengraph app.  Action words are the key and there are plenty out there to make use of. ConnectedHealth has this to say about the recently released fitness apps and the future of health apps via the Facebook open graph:

The MapMyFitness CEO gets it: “So, whether it’s to boast, find like-minded friends or just share your passion for fitness with your nearest and dearest, we think it’s great that MapMyFITNESS has been so quick to integrate its offering into the new Facebook Timeline, developing an app that makes sharing, collecting and monitoring health and fitness information easy. Just make sure you tailor your settings as soon as you start using the app, if you’re a fitness fanatic even your closest friends might not appreciate 20+ updates a day about your work-outs…!”

On another note, here’s a look at some links about mobile health apps.  Some of the apps are very specific, catering to just one specific health/fitness/wellbeing goal.  I think WebMD has the potential to do something a little more inclusive to “whole health.”

USDA “Let’s Move” Campaign Mobile App Contest

VitalClip: This is an app that actually monitors your health. So cool.  What if this was a Facebook open graph app?

ConnectedHealth: Here’s a list of apps compiled by ConnectedHealth.  There’s some really neat stuff on here.  And I think a lot of these apps will be better utilized using the open graph.


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