January 2000. Yours truly, Private Alakangas, is brought into the Tilkka military hospital for examinations to find the cause of infection in the soldier’s knee. All it takes is a couple of blood exams, some drips, rest, and ibuprofen to make the conscript once again fit for service.
Fast forward to January 2020. It’s Friday, the last day of the month at 7:40. The grey army wear has been replaced by grey hair as I find myself again in the same setting. Although the military hospital is long gone, the fine history of healthcare is now being carried on by Nightingale Health, and its customer premises: Nightingale Nest.
The company has been developing an internationally-acclaimed blood analysis technology for preventing chronic illnesses. With just one blood sample, the experts at Nightingale are able to deduce the effects of your way of life and your risk of future illnesses.
As you might have already guessed, this article is about my first brush with Nightingale Health’s blood analysis service for private customers. To summarize, the process is as follows: first you buy a blood analysis package from Nightingale Health’s website, then reserve a time for a blood test and get the results in your mobile app afterwards. From my experience, the company’s competitors tend to handle such matters in a much more traditional way.
Nightingale Health launched its consumer service on the 30th of January and it has been a real pleasure for me to be among the firsts to try it out. Punos Mobile has been a part of the development team for the My Nightingale application since last summer. And so, here I am at Nightingale Nest in Mannerheimintie (Helsinki) on its opening day to experience this new-age blood test.
The previous day, I paid 79€ on Nightingale’s website for a package which includes two tests: a baseline ‘preliminary’ test and a follow-up. These two are going to give me a truly comprehensive picture of my health. I will be able to see, for instance, my exact cholesterol and blood glucose counts in comparisons to the medically recommended counts which puts my values on the scale of ‘Needs attention’ to ‘Excellent’. There are a bunch of other such health factors, each connected to a specific area of health. Among these what I personally found most interesting was the “Heart age”. Let’s just say that’s because everyone knows how stressful running a company can be, or so I have heard. A detailed list of all the things included in the health results can be found here.
Going back to the blood drawing day, Nightingale Nest makes the experience as comfortable as possible. The premises were very unhospital-like and there was some lovely background music playing. I checked-in at the reception and sat down to wait for my turn. Looking around, it seemed, a lot of people there were like me––middle-aged or even a bit younger people. Perhaps we are at least one of the target audiences that the company is trying to reach? I chatted with a few of them and it turned out that many of them have been following the company for a while and wanted to be among the first to try out the service –– just like me. Everyone present seemed to be really interested in their own health while their lifestyles required some improvement for a reason.
After a while, I got called in to take my blood sample. A single test tube of blood was filled, and it only took a few minutes. Keeping in mind that the people coming for the test need to fast for 10-12 hours for accurate results, the snacks and drinks served afterwards were certainly a welcome addition to the whole service experience.
In the future, apart from having new Nest locations, Nightingale plans to have remote blood-testing kits for taking your blood samples at home. Also, they soon plan to introduce annual subscriptions that will let a person take multiple––two to four blood tests, depending on the package––and follow-ups in a year.
As promised, next Tuesday the results appear on the My Nightingale app. I am using the Android version. The otherwise simplified UI was now filled with graphs and other information. The application displays the Nightingale Health Index giving an overview of your general health and then divides your overall condition into six sub-categories in traffic-light colors. Take for instance, regarding the risk of getting diabetes, I can see my risk level of developing the disease within the next 10 years as well as the exact blood counts affecting the result. So, you can say that the application contains a wealth of important information for a person interested in their health. I need to remember to have further discussion with the developers about how easy it was to work with one of the chosen technologies, that is, React Native, to fulfill the requirements of the app.
The entire process went smoothly. Of course, there is always room for improvement. In my opinion, it would be nice to get some sort of a sheet about different blood counts, either directly from the app or as a PDF printout. This would be nice for both personal use as well as sending to nutritional therapists. Also, at the moment, the application is only available in English. So, I am hoping that we can get other languages added to it as soon as possible. Then again, because of the scope of the subject at hand and because of the high-quality content presented, I can fully understand why English is the only choice for now. There is much more text-based content than in most other mobile applications. The app also requires an internet connection to function, which I think is a wise choice due to information security reasons.
If you are wondering how my results were…my health index is at 80 out of 100––could definitely be better. Overall, everything was just as I expected, but I will pay closer attention to a few aspects of my life in the future. While I’m doing that, I hope checking the app from time to time will bring some extra boost to my motivation of taking care of my health. It will be interesting to see my blood counts six months later, when I have scheduled my follow-up blood test from the package. What’s more, it’ll be really cool to see how the new results are going to be visualized. Although even with the way they are now, this is a completely new approach of presenting a person’s blood counts, when compared with traditional lists on pieces of paper that tell you truly nothing without specific professional guidance.
I predict and hope for a successful future for Nightingale’s new service. You, I and everyone else knows how expensive being sick can be. With Nightingale Health, one can proactively react to matters concerning their wellbeing, making everybody a winner here. This will also surely be a huge success as gifts for an organizations’ personnel, as part of a comprehensive healthcare system.
You can download the application for both Android and Apple phones: