10 October 2017

The blood-testing startup helping people take control of their own health

For regular blood samples Thriva is personalising health, but who will sign on and what is its potential?

For regular blood samples Thriva is personalising health, but who will sign on and what is its potential?

A few days after drawing a vial of blood, a Thriva customer is sent a variety of charts and snippets of lifestyle and dietary advice. This health MOT happens every three months at a cost of £49 each time, with information on things like cholesterol and vitamin D sent to a mobile phone.

A personal medical dashboard, flashing up on a phone screen at a moment’s notice, is the promise.

Self-analysis forecasts

Thriva founder Hamish Grierson says people would be ‘crazy’ not to have this information.

And the expectation is it will catch on; forecasts anticipate self-analysis could be worth £7.7bn by 2022. Thriva is already competing with others such as DNAFit, Habit and Vitl.

Some sceptics believe the limitations of this form of ‘GP-lite’ make it little more than a gimmick. They question whether enough people will care sufficiently for a sustained period of time.

Privacy worries

There are worries people will self-diagnose as opposed to seeking professional help. Other critics highlight risks related to the privacy of personal data.

Grierson’s tactic is to spread the word on examples of people who have benefited.

He claims users have solved chronic pains by switching supplements as a result of Thriva’s blood analysis.

Customer profiles

After processing more than 50,000 tests, Thriva has defined three customer profiles: health-conscious consumers interested in tracking their stats; people with ongoing conditions who want to avoid excessive trips to the GP; and professionals, such as dieticians and personal trainers, who want to offer blood testing to clients.

Across the spectrum, people taking their health more seriously is a clear trend. Personalised health is growing in popularity as opposed to ‘one-size-fits-all’ guidance.

Companies like Thriva are hoping that by making products that resemble a consumer, rather than a medical service, they can make the shift towards personalisation a long-term habit.

Selling to insurance

But the opportunities lie beyond consumers, says Grierson.

Data-hungry industries like insurance and telemedicine are two examples of sectors Grierson argues are ideal for partnerships. The company has also been discussing working with similar companies like Vitl, which offers personalised supplements through the post.

Although he emphasises users would consent prior to any data sharing, there is growing anxiety among many consumers around the confidentiality of their personal data; how it’s used, who it is shared with and the risk of hacks. Fines for data misuse can reach up to £500,000 in the UK.

INSIGHT

Thriva has made a medical product simple and elegant. It appears to draw on companies like Apple in the simplicity of its packaging and usage.