WebMD App Adds All-In-One Health Tracker

WebMD on Monday launched an updated iPhone app that includes a new feature that collects data from a range of devices -- from fitness bands to wireless bathroom scales -- to serve as an all-in-one health-tracker and guide.

The new Health Target section of the flagship WebMD app can pull in data from wearables made by companies such as Etra, Fitbit, Jawbone, Telcare and Withings that monitoring sleep, steps, glucose levels, and weight, among other health indicators. (It won't integrate data from any Nike products, however.)

With the addition of Healthy Target, WebMD joins some major tech players that are rolling out their own centralized health platforms via mobile. That includes Samsung’s recently unveiled S.A.M.I. offering, Apple’s HealthKit, and the expected debut of Google Fit, at Google’s I/O developer conference next week.

WebMD had originally planned to release the updated iPhone app in April, but delayed the launch to add extra functionality. (A new Android version has not yet been released.) As one of the best-known heath information providers online, the company has the advantage of wide brand recognition as well as an existing app that is already used by millions of people.

With Healthy Target, WebMD wants to set itself apart farther not just by aggregating disparate health data, but offering personalized content and tips.

“We see an opportunity to make biometric data understandable and actionable for consumers interested in creating and sustaining healthy habits, as they work to lead a healthier lifestyle,” said WebMD CEO David Schlanger, prior to the formal launch today.

To that end, users can choose different goals such as eating healthier, losing weight and being more active. The app will also recommend certain “habits” that people should adopt, like doing calisthenics before watching TV, to help reach their goals. Daily snapshots and weekly recaps allow people to track their progress toward heath goals.

The WebMD app already offers other information for checking symptoms, learning about health conditions and medical terms, finding local doctors and hospitals, and a magazine-style healthy living section. Given the growth in its mobile traffic, the company more than ever has an incentive for building out is products on smartphones and tablets.

In the first quarter, WebMD said more than a third (34%) of its page view traffic came from smartphones in the U.S. — more than the 30% than came from U.S.-based PCs. Another 9% came from tablets. The balance of international traffic wasn’t broken out by device. 

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