Content provider for

David Helliwell
Co-Founder & Executive Board Chair
Thrive Health

10 January 2023

What are the drivers behind the foundation of Thrive and what is your vision for digital healthcare?

Our approach is to develop technology to make life better both for patients and providers. Our platform empowers patients and providers with actionable insights. We give patients the ability to access and manage their health information and we provide smart data reporting to providers to help them deliver better patient care. We believe that the future of digital healthcare has to go beyond point solutions that address isolated problems, and invest in technology that prioritizes the full picture of each patient. That’s what we at Thrive Health are looking to solve.    

How can healthcare organizations rewire operations around patients?

The concept of rewiring is related to processes and mindset, but also to technology. Many healthcare organizations are interested in offering better services to their patients, but the implementation of those services can sometimes become a burden. Moreover, most technologies are designed to support clinical, finance and administration departments in hospitals, and they often lack a patient-centered focus. . We turn that model around and make the patient the center of our universe. Although we work with hospitals, the patients are in control of their own data and can bring it with them to other parts of the healthcare system.

 

From a clinical perspective, if patients are empowered with access to and understanding of their health data, they are going to have fewer complications and be more resilient through their healthcare journeys.

 

For example, we have a national partnership across Canada with Life Labs, which is the biggest lab company at the cutting edge of genetics and new frontiers. They have a well-rounded infrastructure with a myriad of doctors, and they are using our platform to provide added value to both their clinical customers and the patients who are being tested. 

How was the response from the public over privacy and sharing data during the start of the pandemic?

At the start of the pandemic, there were 10,000 people using the Thrive Health platform, and within a month that number grew to 10 million as we released the Canada and British Columbia COVID-19 web and mobile applications. This widespread usage allowed us to gather data around COVID-19 symptoms from patients and app users across the country, and participate in nationwide symptom tracking as the pandemic evolved. People were willing to share information about their symptoms in an attempt to understand what was going on inside their bodies, but there was also an altruistic component to  their efforts. All the data that was gathered through our applications allowed the authorities to have an up-to-date view about the pandemic. The Canadian Government is very cautious around privacy and it is reluctant to collect and store data. The de-identified symptom data we collected was used in the short term by Health Canada to aid pandemic response, and now that data has been deleted. 

What would be some of the risks and limitations related to digital healthcare?

A certain level of data privacy and security is non-negotiable when dealing with healthcare information, and we also have sign offs from some of the biggest public sector organizations in Canada - including Privacy Impact Assessments and Security Threat and Risk Assessments from Health Canada and provincial health systems. The Thrive Health platform meets or exceeds FIPAA, HIPAA, PIPEDA, and NIST requirements, is Sas 70 Type II compliant, and is ISO 27001 certified. Our platform prevents unauthorized access to health information and gives patients control over their health data. 

What are the most important objectives that you are looking to achieve in the next couple of years?

The COVID-19 pandemic was a time of growth for us, and now we are plugged into the largest health systems both provincially and federally, while also working with the biggest employers in Canada. Thrive Health's portfolio is spread across Canada and the United States where we are continuing to link hospitals, employers and insurance companies to patients' medical data. We are also actively recruiting and looking to grow our team of 70 employees.

My father, John Helliwell, is the lead author of the World Happiness Report every year and, so, I have been always looking for ways to apply happiness metrics into the way the healthcare system works. Data shows that people who have higher levels of well-being are more resilient through healthcare journeys. These indicators are going to become more and more common going forward, and  our plan is to be early movers in this space.

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