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Facebook vs Apple: The beginning of a health tech war?

Facebook is planning to carve a route into healthcare according to Reuters' sources, which could spark a health tech war between tech giants, as Apple launched its health app alongside iOS8 last month.

Facebook is rumoured to be exploring the idea of online "support communities" to connect Facebook users suffering from various ailments, as well as new "preventative care" apps to help people improve their health.

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But Facebook has a hard task if it wants to catch up with Apple, who has already launched a Health app and HealthKit for developers, which it says "allows all the incredible health and fitness apps to work together."

Apple says its HealthKit will allow developers to create "useful" apps by allowing access to users health data. Although the user can choose what data they want to share, a user could allow the data from a blood pressure app to be automatically shared with their doctor.

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Health app users can also set up an "emergency card," with important health information that anyone can access in the lock screen, for example blood type or allergies, which may be useful for health workers during an emergency.

Facebook has reportedly been holding meetings with medical industry experts and entrepreneurs in recent months, and is in the process of setting up a research unit to refine and build health apps. But Reuters' sources said Facebook is still in the "idea-gathering stage."

Reuters say their sources requested anonymity as Facebook's plans are still in development.