McNeil Consumer Healthcare, the Johnson & Johnson subsidiary that makes over the counter medications like Tylenol and Zyrtec, has released , called Healthyday, that uses crowdsourced data to inform users about location-based allergy, cold, and flu trends. Update: The app is the first to make use of an API from , a company that has offered its own version of a health map app for years.
The app pulls data from various sources including social media sites like Facebook and Twitter as well as the same self-populated feeds healthcare providers use to stay on top of what's going around in their areas, . It then combines that with data from the app's own users. The results are then displayed in the form of a map that shows users what kinds of conditions are trending nearby, to help them determine whether what they're feeling is a cold, flu, or allergies. Alerts trigger to warn users about bugs that are going around, and the app generates "30 Second Solutions" -- tips for avoiding whatever condition might be prevalent.
"Despite living in a digital age, no one else has yet addressed these common health issues in a mobile format," Sumeet Narula, Digital Brand Manager for McNeil Consumer Healthcare, said in a statement. "Through the Healthyday app, we're serving as a trusted sponsor of aggregated information from respected sources so that we can help consumers and enable them to feel confident they're making better decisions about their health."
The iOS app is free to download. Like other Johnson & Johnson apps, there's no direct tie-in to convince consumers to buy a particular medication. The hope is apparently that the tool will be useful enough that it will create a positive association with the brand. Johnson & Johnson's health management app Care4Today, produced through their subsidiary Janssen, takes the same approach.
"Healthyday is a great example of our commitment as a company to go beyond the pill to provide support and relief to the consumers we have the privilege to serve," Denice Torres, President of McNeil Consumer Healthcare, said in a statement. "Our goal is to truly make a difference in peoples' lives – by helping them feel better and to get back to their daily activities. Healthyday puts health information in the consumer's hands to help them more easily manage seasonal symptoms."
A few other companies have tried to create crowdsourced health maps in the past, including HealthMap, an online offering from Boston Children's Hospital that lets users track flu data in realtime; Google Flu Trends, which combines CDC data with data combed from Google searches; and Kinsa, a smartphone-connected thermometer company that wants to use data from its devices to create a disease map for parents.