Goodbody Health Inc (AQSE:GDBY) Managing Director George Thomas caught up with DirectorsTalk for an exclusive interview to discuss heart health, proactive management of personal health, what the blood MOT offers and what experience the company has in blood testing.
Q1: George, are people taking heart health seriously enough, do you think?
A1: Well, yes. I think over a number of years, the UK population has definitely shifted towards more of a health conscious nation, obviously with the COVID pandemic and recent national lockdowns I think that’s definitely brought that into a sharper focus.
According to the British Heart Foundation, that we all know, there are around 7.6 million people living with a heart or circulatory disease here in the UK. Unfortunately heart and circulatory diseases cause a quarter of all deaths in the UK so that’s more than 160,000 deaths each year, average of 460 deaths each day. In the US alone, cardiovascular disease, which causes things like heart attacks and strokes, is the leading cause of death in both men and women.
So, it tells us that there’s an enormous amount of important work that can be done in educating the population around the dangers of heart disease, but also to give some practical steps so that we can pick up the problems early enough so that they can do something about it.
Q2: So, are you saying that people need to be more proactive managing their heart health?
A2: Exactly. We are now seeing that people want to take their health a lot more seriously and take personal responsibility for it. In addition to a healthy lifestyle, it’s important that people are also checking their heart and overall health regularly through blood screening. I think, as we know through working with our Chief Medical Officer who has 29 years’ experience being a GP, doctors are very much in agreement on this point and the early screening and treatment really can save lives.
So, taking blood tests is probably one of the easiest ways of assessing current condition of people’s heart and overall health. We call it the blood MOT.
Think about it, you regularly MOT your car, you get your boiler serviced annually, you get your teeth checked annually so why don’t people MOT their blood? It could probably have the single biggest impact on everyday lives and friends and family around them.
We’re now moving into a period where people would like to have their health MOT, and we are offering this blood MOT, which would be a common place we feel as Goodbody Health helps start that cultural shift.
Q3: What does a blood MOT consist of then?
A3: We take your blood and we can take your blood from either your arm venously as it’s called, or we can do a finger prick test. Our best test that we do is called the Well Man or Well Woman profile, we look at over 38 different biomarkers which gives you a great indication of your general health right now.
So, within that, and also our additional products, we’re looking at not just heart health but diabetes testing, cholesterol information, and other markers that we are constantly developing. For example, elevated cholesterol is one of the major risk factors of pulmonary heart disease, heart attacks, and strokes.
So, we have a range of different tests that you can do, they’re all available via our clinics and via our website, and in many instances, we can give immediate results. We’ve worked with a brilliant medical device company that has allowed us to do real time testing for lipids, which is cholesterol and also pre-diabetes, so you don’t have to wait for days on end until you get your results. Some of the real key ones we can deliver and get the results there and then.
Q4: What experience has Goodbody Health built up in blood testing?
A4: So, through the COVID pandemic, we’ve opened over 100 clinics so with that you have a whole range of certain protocols and service levels that those clinics are delivering and pushing the business and pivoting it towards blood testing has been really a natural fit for us.
We have the level of talent and service agreements in place, we’ve got the correct staff who can take blood and we’ve built up a brilliant website that does a great job of taking private sector customers from the internet, from their different appetites of search, and then we can put them into different tests.
We’ve got certified technology that we are using, it’s also being used by the NHS, we’ve got a Scientific Advisory Board that we’ve built up that is, like I said, headed up by certain professors and also those in a GP world.
So, we’re really helping to push the different product sets in the best, most educated fashion and we’ve got a Pharmacy Focus Group so a lot of our clinics that we use are pharmacies and bring together all of their intelligence and insight to help guide the product shift and we’re very excited about that.
We’ve also through the last few months developed a phlebotomy school so the phlebotomy school takes those members of staff within our clinics who are not trained in taking blood from the arm. It takes them on that programme to get to a position where they’re competent because venous draw blood, you can see a lot more through venous blood than just finger prick test conducted at home.