How will online health testing change the way we die?

How will the rise of at-home healthcare change the way we die?

Do you want to know if you’ve drawn the short straw in the gene pool lottery? With the rise in online companies offering at-home health tests, you can skirt GP’s waiting times, helping you to feel in control. Here we take a look at how a quick tap of your phone can put you in touch with an AI doctor, or get a blood test sent straight to your front door, and how at-home healthcare will change the way we approach our health.

What do at-home health tests actually provide?

There are many startups offering streamlined blood tests, “health MOTs” and a range of quick genetic testing.  

Companies such as Thriva, where you can get your blood test results in 48 hours, suggest that their business uses the same labs as the NHS. Over and above this, your results will be reviewed by a UK qualified GP. With different pricing according to levels of health tracking (from Essential to, er, Advance), you’ll be sent a full road map of your health straight to your sedentary position on the sofa.

So what’s the point of making a doctor’s appointment, or turning up for those blood tests schedule with the NHS? While these convenient tests make sure you’re not waiting around for answers, these things might also send you into a paranoid whirlwind of second guessing whether that tight feeling in your chest was just a result of wolfing down that third slice of cake, or something more deadly.

Do these health companies use your DNA?

Genes can tell us a lot. From why we’ve got a mole in a strange place, to how susceptible we are to certain illnesses and hereditary diseases. Everything from baldness to Alzheimer’s can be explained by genes.

This is what 23 and Me has tapped into. Why stop at an at-home blood test? Claiming that it can bring the world of genes to you, 23 and Me’s health and ancestry service allows you to gain what it vaguely terms “insights” into any genetic health risks or your carrier status. Just make sure you sign the consent form to allow 23 and Me to store your genetic info, and you’re good to go.

What if I don’t want to wait for a diagnosis to arrive in the post?

Don’t worry if 48 hours is too long for you to wait – you’re used to food, transport and even dry cleaning on demand, so why wouldn’t you want a doctor immediately, too.

Babylon, a UK-based firm that uses AI to provide diagnosis and support, says its tech can diagnose patients better than a doctor could.

Saving lives, or at least treating your man flu, might be “as easy as ordering a cab on your smartphone”, as one review on Babylon has it.

Build a digital twin that you can scrutinise online, a mock-up of your body seen from the inside. Just make sure not to check it while at work – who knows what you’ll find.

Find out more

If you don’t want to find out if you’ve got a hereditary disease using an online form, take a look at our guides instead.

Death isn’t just a lengthy admin process or choosing between an overwhelming array of funeral flowers, it’s also your digital death. This is everything from what happens to your lifetime’s worth of emails, to all those collected geo-location pins. Take a look at our Digital Death page here.

What law is in place for your data privacy after you die?

Do you have any online privacy preferences for after you die?

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