I’m told that, in ancient China, doctors were only paid by the patients who were well. The argument was that doctors had failed their sick patients – and so did not deserve payment. Of course, doctors are now paid very differently – but maybe that should change…?
Meet Thriva – the company building the UK’s first preventative health service.
I’m sure you’re all familiar with the scenario; you’re feeling unwell, your GP has recommended a blood test, you must take time off work and spend hours in a room waiting for your turn. You don’t hear anything about your results for a few days, you call you GP for an update and are told, “Everything is fine.”
Now if you were going through this every three months you would be forgiven for feeling a little frustrated. Which is where Eliot Brooks and the company he co-founded, Thriva, comes in. I’ll let him tell you more…
AL: So Eliot, how did you get into this?
EB: Well I have familial hypercholesterolemia (genetically high cholesterol). This means a quarterly visit to the doctors, to get a blood test taken. It’s not really the GP visit that I found hard to stomach – but everything else that comes with it. It meant a morning off work, a needle in the arm, and a long drawn-out process to get results.
When I did get my results they were usually read out over the phone, or I was simply told, “You’re ok.” One day, out of curiosity and frustration, I asked my GP for the actual results and after a long struggle to get them it turned out that my cholesterol had actually been trending badly for a few years. This was news to me!
My co-founder Hamish was actually my boss at the time – so he was the one giving me the time off work for these tests. After a chat about the entire process including my discovery, we concluded that there had to be a better way. And so – along with our third co-founder, Tom – Thriva was born.
AL: How big is the problem you’re solving?
EB: The problem pertains to everyone in the world. Huge numbers of disease instances are preventable. In ten years’ time, we will all look back at a time when we didn’t know this stuff and think, “That was mad”. The data and insight is there, ready to be taken. People just need to get comfortable with the idea of being proactive, and empowered to take control of their health – rather than waiting for something to happen, and then reacting to it.
AL: What do you think of the wider market you’re operating in?
EB: We love the healthcare industry. The NHS is a national treasure for a reason. It is exceptionally good at treating sick people, and ensuring that care is provided to everyone when they need it. However, even the NHS chief executive has said that prevention is better than the cure.
AL: Tell me about your solution in detail.
EB: We offer a finger-prick blood test that allows customers to identify, measure and track indicators such as cholesterol, liver function, vitamin D, B12, folate, blood sugar levels and iron. Our customers collect a sample at home using the kit that fits through their letter box, then send the sample off in the post. Two days later, they get access to their results on the Thriva dashboard. Within the dashboard results are shown in comparison to healthy ranges – along with our GPs’ commentary and advice on ways to improve these indicators. As we are firm believers in tracking, all results are displayed in a graph – giving you a visualisation of how you’re doing, over time.
AL: How are you going to monetise?
EB: As we are a subscription business, we have been monetised from day one. We now have three different subscriptions, ranging from £24 to £69 per test per quarter. We have just launched the latest version of our website, to include two new packages, and an update to our original package. Additionally, we’ve included some additional features – such as flexible scheduling, which allows customers to set the time between each test.
AL: Are you pandering to the “worried well”?
EB: No. The thing that unites our clients is they are all on a health journey of some kind. This may be something specific like monitoring their thyroid condition, or losing weight healthily – or it could be a general check, to see how their lifestyle is affecting health.
AL: Is this a service innovation, or do have you made any testing breakthroughs?
EB: We’re building the world’s first preventative healthcare service. That means bringing a lot of things together as an innovation: offering insights-led recommendation and a personalised dashboard based on result. Plus, we improve convenience and speed by huge multiples (results within days not weeks).
AL: How big have you grown, so far?
EB: We’re nearly at 20,000 customers and are growing 20% month on month.
AL: What’s your competition?
EB: Our competition is inactivity and hoping everything is ok, without knowing. We’re creating a huge market of people who hadn’t previously been tracking their health in the way we promote.
AL: If your approach works well, won’t it just be taken over by the NHS?
EB: The NHS is a fantastic sick care service, but it isn’t set up to be a preventative solution. In the end, we will be able to reduce strain on the NHS by helping to quell preventative disease.
AL: How can people invest?
EB: We’re not raising at the moment, but we’d welcome contact to discuss future investment.
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