In a blog post, Zeiger said he will be charged with helping to improve Facebook’s Health Support Groups and boosting the quality of health information across Facebook.
Healthtech entrepreneur and the former Google Health strategist Dr. Roni Zeiger is joining Facebook as its newly created Head of Health Strategy as the social media company continues to test its own ambitions in healthcare.
Zeiger joins Facebook from Smart Patients, a social media startup he co-founded in 2012 that connected patients with similar disease states to share developments related to the condition, identify potential clinical trials and offer peer support to others.
Prior to starting Smart Patients, Zeiger served as Google’s Chief Health Strategist leading efforts to improve the company’s health related search results and helping to build web services like Google Flu Trends.
He was also instrumental in the development of Google Health, the search giant’s scuttled personal health record service.
His new position at Facebook seems to be in line with his peer support experience at Smart Patients. In a blog post, Zeiger said he will be charged with helping to improve Facebook’s Health Support Groups and boosting the quality of health information across Facebook.
Health Support Groups was recently launched by Facebook to allow patient to find and join suitable groups on the platform and ask admins to anonymously post questions.
While the company is ramping up its initiatives in the space, Facebook has had a bit of a checkered history when it comes to its activities in healthcare.
Previously, the company has come under criticism in the past for improperly sharing membership data from private patient groups to marketers.
When it comes to curbing potential health-related information, the company has answered the call of lawmakers and organizations like the AMA to combat misinformation about vaccines.
Facebook has worked on demonetizing harmful content, improving search algorithms to surface accurate information and removing groups and pages that promote misinformation.
Other health-related efforts from the company include the company’s blood donation request feature,which was launched in the U.S. earlier this year. The company’s initial markets for the feature suffered from false requests and abuses like black market blood sellers
Also worth noting was Facebook’s research project to pair hospital EHR data with demographic and social data. That initiative was halted in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal which saw the personal data of approximately 87 million Facebook users fall into the hands of a political consulting firm.
More recently, the company unveiled new mapping tools meant to help public health organizations stay ahead of disease outbreaks and guide disaster response.
“Needless to say, there are tremendous challenges to address, as well as many opportunities for meaningful impact. I will tap into the power of community and collaboration to do my best, and look forward to collaborating with many of you along the way,” Zeiger wrote in his blog post.
Date: June 24, 2019