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Home run for testing and telemedicine pioneer

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As at-home testing plays a key role in healthcare during the coronavirus pandemic, this is a huge opportunity for telemedicine says CEO of remote testing company Thriva, Hamish Grierson.

Since its launch in 2016, Thriva has helped more than 100,000 track and improve their health, offering remote clinical-grade testing based on the latest research. Since the coronavirus outbreak the team has been supporting hospitals and GPs to offer at-home testing for those who need it – and Thriva’s latest predicted results product can give anyone a 95% accurate benchmark on their blood results without even having to take a test.

Co-founder Hamish Grierson has a background in Fintech innovation, brand building and international growth but through his own interactions with the current healthcare system he saw an opportunity to equip people the tools they needed to get and stay healthy. He tells us why 2020 is a pivotal year for the company.

HT: Tell us about Thriva, how does it work?
Hamish: Thriva is the proactive health company. Our mission is to put better health in your hands with affordable, clinical-grade testing, coaching and supplements based on the latest research. Simply put, we give people access to evidence-based insights – through testing – which allow them to understand, track and improve their own health over time. Lots of people haven’t experienced the value in being able to track what’s happening inside their bodies with a blood test. We feel this is the first step to taking control of your own health.

How does Thriva accurately predict results?
Predicted results is a new product we have created to give anyone a 95% accurate benchmark on their blood results, without having to do a test. It has been developed by Thriva’s in-house doctors and data scientists using machine learning and an anonymised data set of 800,000 tests completed by existing customers.

How could this change healthcare as we know it?
We have seen a seismic shift this year in how we will view healthcare for generations to come and the pandemic has accelerated a macro political shift towards remote care. There is a great opportunity for an extension of telemedicine, the use of which has risen dramatically throughout the pandemic, to include remote monitoring through at-home testing at scale. Through effective at-home blood testing, we will start to see real impact on health outcomes, with the additional benefits of lower costs and reduced pressure on GP surgeries and hospitals. I believe this is a long-lasting change and could be the catalyst for a shift in culture and mindset which unlocks a truly proactive health revolution.

What role is Thriva playing in the coronavirus pandemic?
Firstly, we’re building out our capabilities so that we can support more hospitals and GPs who are looking to offer at-home testing to those in need. We’re already working with the likes of the Royal Brompton Hospital Trust and we’re delivering at-home testing pilots with a number of others. Secondly, we’re looking to support the need for increased access to Covid testing both on the antibody and virus detection (PCR) sides. Finally, we’re increasing the amount of content we’re sharing to help educate people and to support them on their health journey.

Can remote testing ever be a replacement for face to face care?
The potential is great, but we are not suggesting this is a complete replacement for face to face care. Millions of tests – for people living with diabetes, or those on powerful drug treatments for example – can be delivered remotely, at home using a finger-prick blood sample that patients can undertake themselves or by capitalising on the network of nurses who can drop in to patients homes.

Of course, it won’t be suitable for everyone, some populations will struggle to take a test themselves, and the long-held criticism of remote care is that it has the potential to leave the most vulnerable patients behind. We need to recognise these limitations and seek to work closely with those who are responsible for the overall care to ensure that it meets the needs of all patients. But the opportunity far outweighs the hurdles.

Do you think it will improve public health as people take control of their own healthcare?
This is the vision for Thriva – that the preventative benefits that come from proactively engaging in your health should be accessible to all. We firmly believe that the first step in realising that goal is to give people access to the data that matters, so they can pre-empt conditions happening before they occur, and improve day to day life more generally.

Is Thriva what the future of healthcare looks like?
I would like to think the future of healthcare is truly proactive – this means a reality in which people recognise that they have control over their own health and take steps to understand and manage it for the future. This will leave space, time and money for organisations like the NHS to do what it does best, to deliver sick-care. I also believe that armed with information about our own health, each of us can not only avoid getting sick but live longer in good health.

This single aim – to put better health in your hands – could have untold benefits on society and that is what drives us. It is an ambitious goal and one that is forever offering up new challenges and opportunities.

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