How Facebook’s Graph Search Can Influence Healthcare

February 5, 2013
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Facebook will be unveiling its new Graph Search in the coming weeks and months to all users. This new search tool will allow users to look up anything another user shared with them on Facebook, and allow others to find stuff that was shared with them, including any content set to “Public” – that is, open to anyone.

Facebook will be unveiling its new Graph Search in the coming weeks and months to all users. This new search tool will allow users to look up anything another user shared with them on Facebook, and allow others to find stuff that was shared with them, including any content set to “Public” – that is, open to anyone.

The search’s algorithm will filter search results for each person, ranking the friends and brands that it thinks a user would trust most. The algorithm at first will mine users’ interests, photos, check-ins and “likes.” Eventually it will also search status updates.

So how does this new Facebook search tool – versus Google – help healthcare? Well, the results you get from Graph Search are predominantly results from other Facebook users, not third-party sources.

This is where personal influence can come in. Many people make health-related decisions based on the experiences of their peers or their peers’ friends. If they see that their friends had a positive experience with a certain physician or hospital, that may influence their decision to use that doctor or healthcare facility. If the search pulls up a lot of negative sentiments on the doctor or hospital – well, you get the idea.

Then again, the Graph Search may have little effect on healthcare decisions because only public information is shared, and many people who do share their healthcare information online keep it private, accessible only to a select group of people.

It’s still too early to tell if Graph Search, currently in beta and only available to a select number of users will be a game changer, especially in the healthcare world. To get on the waiting list to try it firsthand, click here: https://www.facebook.com/about/graphsearch.

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