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WebMD Wants to Collect Your Health Data in One Place -- Just Like Everyone Else

The health content company's Healthy Target service will sync data from an array of wearables.

WebMD on Monday will launch Healthy Target, a service that collects data from wearables, wireless scales, glucose meters and more to offer up personalized health content and tips.

If it sounds like a familiar move at this point, it’s because lots of tech companies are positioning themselves as all-in-one platforms for digital health. Samsung announced S.A.M.I., Apple trotted out HealthKit, Google is reportedly coming out with Google Fit, Microsoft is still plugging away with HealthVault and Qualcomm Life offers the 2net Platform.

There’s a growing sense that continuously collected biological information can help consumers lead healthier lives or better manage disease.

But the industry has seen that a big portion of health-tracker customers dump them in drawers or forget them in charging cradles after a few week or months. It turns out that data on steps, sleep and calories doesn’t magically transform beer bellies into six packs.

Better health habits are simply difficult to develop, even when they involve pretty new gadgets.

WebMD, one of the best known providers of health information online, believes it can differentiate itself in the space and inspire lasting lifestyle changes by converting that information into “actionable insights.”

“We can connect the dots and give people deep insight behind what those numbers mean,” said David Ziegler, director of product management at the New York company.

Healthy Target allows consumers to pick among goals like losing weight, eating healthier and controlling blood sugar. It then helps them achieve those aims by recommending lifestyle adjustments, sending reminders and providing encouragement. The service also helps users track their progress by translating health data into easy-to-understand visuals.

The app automatically pulls in information from devices developed by Entra, Fitbit, ForaCare, Jawbone, Telcare and Withings — in most cases by syncing with the 2net Platform, a secure online health information locker already approved by the Food and Drug Administration.

The company is working to integrate additional devices and plans to announce others in the weeks or months ahead, Ziegler said. Users can also manually enter information, such as calorie consumption.

Healthy Target will appear in the updated version of WebMD’s app for iOS, available in the App Store on Monday.

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