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Thriva: Bridging the gap in the UK’s Health Care

http://convertalinktest.awin.com

The other day, I wrote about how I’ve been managing my anemia on my own. One of the things I have been using the most is Thriva: an at-home finger-prick blood test service.

How Does it Work?

After signing up at Thriva.co and ordering a testing kit, it is posted to you.

The kit contains everything you need: clear instructions, alcohol swabs, single-use finger-prick tools, plasters, a plastic blood sample tube, storage container (to protect the blood) and a prepaid envelope to post your blood back to the lab.

Thriva Kit

Before doing the test, you MUST register the kit’s serial number to your online Thriva profile. Ordering the kit/s from your profile does not automatically connect it. This is to ensure the right kit gets assigned to the right person because you can gift someone else kits as well.

The actual test is really simple. You prick your finger and fill up the little bottle to the marked lines. Three single-use finger-prick tools are included in the kit in case you don’t get enough blood from the first attempt.

Once you’ve collected the sample, you write the date on the label and post it to the lab.

Thriva Kit

The whole process took me five minutes and I had to prick my finger twice. There’s a post box in my street, so I popped the envelope in it and got my results three days later. I practically didn’t have to leave my house because the post box is so close by.

You can choose to subscribe and receive a test every three months or buy them once off.
I buy mine once off every two months.

Which Tests are Offered?

There are currently three tests to choose from:

Essential £24

– Cholesterol
– Liver Function

Baseline £49

– Cholesterol
– Liver Function
– Iron Profile
– Vitamin D
– Vitamin B12

Advanced £69

– Cholesterol
– Liver Function
– Iron Profile
– Vitamin D
– Vitamin B12
– Vitamin B9 (folate)
– Diabetes (HbA1c)

A long with these test results and the lifestyle questions that you fill in on your profile, you get given a QRISK3 score & healthy heart age. This is an algorithm that predicts whether you are at risk of heart disease in the next 10 years. This score was not created by Thriva but by doctors here in the UK and it is now widely used, even in the NHS. (In other words, it’s not a gimmick.)

Additional Testing

Once your test results come in, you can choose to order further personalised tests. For example, my vitamin D came in really low, so an additional hs-CRP (inflammation) test and thyroid profile was recommended. It is of course up to you whether you want to persue it further, whether that’s through Thriva, the NHS or not at all.

Where is the Blood Tested?

Thriva only uses UKAS accredited labs. The three they are currently using are TDL Pathology, Synlab, and County Pathology.

Who examines the results?

All the results are assessed by doctors before they are made available on your profile – just as they would be if you went through a GP or any other doctor.

On your profile you’ll see notes and recommendations made by the doctor who examined the results. I like that they have a thumbnail and name assigned to them. You bet that I “Googled” them too.

Doctor Note

Getting your results

I got an email saying that my results are ready to be viewed three days after my sample was posted. When I logged into Thriva, I was genuinely impressed with how comprehensive it was.

There’s a quick overview:

Quick Overview

A slightly more in-depth view:

Overview

And a REALLY detailed view:

Indepth

I love this so much. It’s helped me to understand my results in more detail than the general “it’s fine” or “it needs improving”. They go into detail about what was tested, why it’s tested, what its function is in your body, what you can do to control it / improve it, why it may be high / low, what the symptoms are of it being high / low, the long-term effects etc.

Another great feature is that they plot all your results on a graph so that you can see your progress through out the year after multiple tests.

Can Thriva be Trusted?

In my opinion, absolutely. They are accredited, work with accredited labs and are partnered with the NHS.

Why Thriva and not a GP?

At the end of the day it comes down to taking back control of your health.

I would never have known that my vitamin D was low had it not been for Thriva’s baseline test. I spend a fair bit of time in the sun and eat really well, so why would it be low? It’s something that I’m currently investigating, especially since I broke my foot earlier this year by climbing in the loft. I didn’t even fall… I literally just put my weight on my foot and it broke.

Now I must try to convince the same doctors who refused me an X-ray when my foot was broken (I ended up going to a different town’s Walk-in Centre because I was sure it was broken and not sprained) and try to get them to help me find the cause of my low vitamin D. *chuckles* It’s not happening.

I’ve said it SO many times that I never really miss South Africa, but I would sell my soul to have the exceptional private health care that they have in SA, made available here in the UK. Health care is a completely different world here and it’s one that I have struggled with so much.

I’m used to the luxury of calling my GP’s office in the morning, seeing the doctor during my lunch break, getting blood taken and having my meds ready afterwards without even needing to take a long lunch. If I wanted an ultrasound to check out my ovaries (I’m prone to cysts), I would just schedule it. Pap smears before you’re 25? No problem – they’ll do it tomorrow quickly. If I wanted my kid’s tonsils removed next week, we’d just go ahead and book that too.

Then I came here and it’s just “no, no, no”. I get it though. I really do, and I’m not bashing it but there’s no denying that there is a massive gap in the UK’s health care and it can be very frustrating at times. We’ve all experience it, some worse than others.

My doctor also just flat out refuses to help me with my anemia (“I should eat more spinach”) so I have no choice but to turn to services like Thriva so that I can manage it myself.

Is Thriva the future of health care in the UK?

I think so.

Thriva are working with the NHS on something that’s close to my heart.
The Royal Brompton hospital have launched a digital health care platform to service their Cystic Fibrosis patients.

The tricky thing about CF is that patients need to be isolated from others with CF and respiratory diseases. This is difficult to do when you need to go to CF clinic so often (once every week or two if you’re ill, otherwise every other month).

The digital platform allows patients to Skype with their consultants and they can do their own blood tests at home. Monitoring the vitamin levels of CF patients is really important because most suffer from pancreatic insufficiency. They struggle to absorb fats due to the lack of enzymes that reach their stomachs (the mucous blocks the pancreatic duct) so they need to take enzymes orally. Vitamins A, B12, D, E, and K are fatty so it’s a juggle between supplements and enzyme ratios to get the correct levels of vitamins. Blood tests can also show which strains of bacteria patients are currently battling.

There’s also been a drive to do more chest examinations and culture swabs at the patient’s home to limit their exposure to the hospital. The only time they’d need to go in is for X-rays and ultrasounds.

This is not only great for CF patients, but also their carers. If I am not working, then I am not being paid and weekly hospital visits add up very fast.

I can only imagine how much good this will do for other out-patients too, such as diabetics.

In Conclusion

I think Thriva is fantastic.

Everything is well thought out and well executed. From the little details like the design of the box to the quality of the medical supplies provided, to the amazing UX of their website. I can’t fault them.

I am just really grateful that they exist because I now have a better handle on my anemia and I’m working my way towards find out if there’s something up with my thyroid due to my low Vitamin D.

Disclosure

This is not a sponsored post.
A baseline test was supplied for review purposes. I have continued to use Thriva since May out of my own pocket.

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