Today's step count isn't a particularly useful window into your overall health, but it can be if analyzed over months alongside other biometric data. That's why a Seattle-based startup, called Arivale, is marketing a new concept called "scientific wellness," and it is planning to demonstrate its efficacy through peer-reviewed research.
Arivale CEO Clayton Lewis, who started the company with biologist Leroy Hood, says the company aggregates wellness information, such as activity levels and lifestyle, and couples it with genetic data and clinical labs. It then assigns a coach to each customer to make actionable health recommendations by phone. To avoid regulation, the company's coaches will suggest that users see a doctor if they discover something potentially concerning ("we don't diagnose and we don't prescribe," Lewis stresses). The price tag isn't cheap at $3,500, but Lewis says it is working with employers to subsidize the cost for their workers.
Arivale is part of a broader trend of private companies offering health and wellness coaching to make up for the lack of preventative care. But some in the medical sector see a potential downside: As ProPublica's Charles Ornstein writes, too much data can lead to potentially risky tests and procedures.