Investing In Health Data
We have harnessed technology to enable an incredible amount of information sharing around business and finance over the last two decades.
I have detailed data on thousands of publicly traded companies at my fingertips. What is their market cap? Who are their largest shareholders? Has the CEO sold stock recently? What is their business model and how do their unit economics compare to last quarter (or last year or five years ago)? I can essentially access the financial health of virtually all household brands at the press of a button.
But when I try to perform the same exercise (accessing data) on humans, including myself, it’s much harder.
What is my cholesterol? Respiratory rate? Resting heart rate? Posture/alignment? Sleep patterns? Blood oxygen level? Blood sugar level? The vast majority of us are totally in the dark on these metrics.
It has never made sense to me that I had access to so much data about businesses, and yet until last year, I didn’t even know what blood type I was.
The good news is — this is changing.
Companies like: WHOOP, Levels, Eight Sleep, Oura Ring, Apple Watch, among others are using sensors and biometric data to provide much more detailed information to consumers. And I believe we are only at the beginning.
The technology is improving quickly and the costs are coming down, allowing for accessibility more broadly.
I bet we will look back in ten years and have a hard time believing we were all managing the stresses of life without the tools and information to help us optimize and make better decisions regarding what we eat, when we eat, when we go to sleep, what temperature is optimal for sleep, when to rest, and when to push.
As a longtime WHOOP member, I can confidently say it has improved my health. I feel like I am flying a plane with radar — helping me see around corners and make small adjustments. It’s so simple. The data is collected passively and the device is not obtrusive (and increasingly invisible). All you have to do is look to Instagram or Twitter to see others expressing similar sentiments about how many of the companies listed above have helped them. Once you experience it, it is hard to go back.
While all of the information can feel overwhelming at first, over time the companies who will dominate this emerging category will have superior user experience to surface information in a way that is easily digestible and actionable.
In WHOOP’s most recent release 4.0, it announced the ability to export data to your doctor, physician, and or loved one. I would not be surprised if in time we can easily grant access to our data, in real-time, to our primary care physician or cardiologist — which will lead to much more personalized care.
Outside of Apple and Google’s efforts, there will be a $100 billion+ company built in this space. It’s exciting to see the seedlings of this movement happening right in front of our eyes. I suspect it will seem obvious in the not too distant future.