WebMD, the popular online health information provider, yesterday updated their iPhone app to include a new 'Healthy Target' service. The service will be able collect data from a range of activity trackers, wireless scales and glucose meters, compile the data and provide "tailored, physician-reviewed, contextually relevant content and motivational tips to individuals looking to develop sustainable health-conscious habits".
WebMD foresees the service as helping not only those with chronic conditions such as Type 2 diabetes but also those who just want to achieve a healthier lifestyle. But as Re/code importantly noted in their report, WebMD is just the latest in a series of companies that have been developing similar systems to collect personal health data in a meaningful way. Apple announced HealthKit at WWDC two weeks ago, Samsung previously announced S.A.M.I., Google is expected to announce Google Fit at their I/O conference, Microsoft has HealthVault and Qualcomm Life has the 2net platform.
The Healthy Target platform is currently able to collect data about sleep patterns, steps, weight and blood glucose data. WebMD's platform currently supports devices including those from Entra, Fitbit, Jawbone's UP and Withings, as well as the iPhone 5S for steps (naturally). If a user doesn't have a compatible device, there is still the ability to manually input their biometric data.
"WebMD's Healthy Target empowers consumers to make behavioral changes that can improve their physical and mental health," said Dr. Michael Smith, Chief Medical Editor at WebMD. "To achieve successful, sustainable behavioral change, consumers must learn how to track and manage the factors that contribute to healthy living."
The WebMD app with Healthy Target gives users the ability to set goals (such as losing weight, sleeping better or controlling blood sugar), review their health data that has been captured by the service and receive weekly recaps and personalised tips to (hopefully) encourage achieving health goals.
WebMD's iPhone app, including the Healthy Target service, is available for free from the App Store.