Today, May 1, Facebook is stepping into the personal healthcare sphere by adding organ donor status to its Timeline structure, which asks users to check off their status and directs them to Donate Life America's National Registration Page, allowing them to designate a donation decision if they have not done so already.
The New York Times reports that this is not the social network behemoth's first foray to address a social and health-related issue. Late last year it launched a service called “lifeline” that allows people to make contact with a suicide-prevention counselor or report someone through Facebook who they fear might be suicidal.
Now that Facebook users can designate organ donation status, it might be only a matter of time for Facebook to partner with the Red Cross to allow users to designate their blood type, and be alerted when their blood type is needed in their communities. As they say, there's already an app for that: Takes All Types lets users identify their location and blood type, and say how often and how (via Facebook, email, text message, etc.) they are willing to be contacted to donate blood, and if a shortage occurs, the app will contact the user.
I'm curious what the future repercussions of this decision by Facebook will be. Will allowing users to select a donation status be make it more comfortable for people to put even more health information on their timelines? Will your timeline become a personal repository not only for your friendships, photos, but also your personal health information? The social network is already a means for patients to seek others who are say diabetics like them, so will patients be treating Facebook as their own personal health record? Can Facebook do what Google Health couldn't?