More people are managing their health at home, Erwin Van Leeuwen, Creative Commons (2017)

Thriva is encouraging Britons to do their own blood work

DISRUPTORS: The ideas changing industries

The Thriva kit is letting people mine their own health data using a DIY finger prick test, catering to a growing desire to take control of one’s own health — whether that’s by self-diagnosing online or taking smart drugs. We explore the insights behind the service, and why keeping brand communications casual can make people less squeamish about blood.

With Thriva, people collect their blood from a simple finger prick and send their sample off for analysis. Within 48 hours, it will have mapped the goings-on of a customer’s blood on to paper, sending them a copy. It offers people a peek into their bodily processes with three tiers of analysis, priced from £24 to £69 per test. The most elementary level allows them to focus on two areas of health (like cholesterol and liver function), while the most advanced level gives them a more comprehensive picture of internal health. Along with the cold, hard facts of blood work, it throws in recommendations from its team of qualified GPs.

More people are managing their health at home, Thriva (2017)

Thriva is helping people think of health — particularly the daunting process of taking blood — as something casual, rather than intimidating. It has made a point of keeping its brand attitude open and relaxed, starting by appointing Ant Smith, a man famous for his widely publicised micropenis, as the face of its campaign. The slogan? “There’s nothing wrong with a little prick.”

Everything from Thriva’s website aesthetic to the jargon-free language used on its kits is designed to normalise DIY blood tests. It even presents personal health — which is usually portrayed as a long-term endeavour — as something that can be tweaked and massaged on a daily basis, with the company’s quick turnover enabling people to track the impact of their day-to-day changes in test results.

With people becoming increasingly impatient, Thriva offers to pepper the lengthy path towards good health with hits of instant gratification; you might not feel cured of your constant exhaustion after three days, but the blood test can tell you if your B12 levels are up, meaning that the energised new you is well on its way. Ultimately, everything from Thriva’s tone to its business model helps to make the pursuit of good health more of a virtuous hobby than a daunting responsibility.

Mira Kopolovic is a behavioural analyst at Canvas8, which specialises in behavioural insights and consumer research. She has a Master’s degree that focused on artist-brand collaborations, and spends her spare time poring over dystopian literature.

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