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Future Friends: The Story of Rapid Diagnostics

May 6, 2021
Shaun Williams

In a world of one-click purchases, on-demand streaming and same-day deliveries, we’ve all got used to almost instant gratification. That, combined with good old human nature, can make it hard to do the right thing for our future selves. We all know the drill; pay into a pension, save money regularly, eat more fruit and veg, drink more water (and less beer or wine or cola), exercise regularly, drive less, put your laundry away / do your filing before it builds up etc etc... The list of “shoulds” can feel endless. At Lime, we can’t claim to be able to do everything (although we would love to invent a machine that automatically puts laundry away), but as part of our mission to help people stay healthy for longer, we make it our business to design products and services that make it easy for the “you” of today to take action that will help the “you” of tomorrow. We like to think of it as being your own future best friend.


We want to put people in control of their future health in a meaningful way. So, we start with a need and then work out how we can give people real choice that’s affordable, accessible and minimal faff.

Here’s a little behind the scenes insight into the thinking behind one of our products: Rapid Diagnostics. In a nutshell, Rapid Diagnostics gives the “you” of today the chance to pay a small amount each month so that the “you” of tomorrow won’t be at the end of a long waiting list for diagnostic tests. It’s as simple as that. We know it won’t be for everyone but for those of us who don’t like the idea of waiting for a test, it’s perfect.

We all know that it can take a while to get seen on the NHS. That’s no criticism, we genuinely think the NHS is amazing and we are so lucky to have it, but the fact is waiting lists are long. In the last year, the situation has (understandably) only got worse to the point where now one in three people are waiting more than 6 weeks for access to a diagnostic test - and it will likely take years to clear the back log. Sometimes, we don’t mind waiting. We understand that resources are limited and perhaps it doesn’t make much difference if you need to wait a few weeks or months. However, sometimes it does make a difference. Sometimes, we might be worried, or it might be making it difficult to work or live life normally. In those times, people just want an answer as quickly as possible. If you have the money, you could then pay to have a test privately, but that can be expensive. Or, you could be one of the 11% of people in the UK who have private medical insurance, perhaps that will cover the test.

The problem is plenty of people can’t afford to pay for a private test outright and 89% of people don’t have private medical insurance. And even if they do, they are likely to have to pay an excess to access it. Which is yet more expense. Or they will need to pay for it upfront and then submit receipts to be reimbursed. Which requires more money and then quite a lot of faffing around.

So, we thought long (and it really was a very long time) and hard, and worked out that we could offer people the chance to pay a small amount every month today so that in the future, they are protected from long waiting lists. We even included access to a virtual GP to make the referral process as quick as possible (you can get a referral from your own GP if you prefer). We know that no one wants to pay an excess, so we don’t charge one. And your tests are paid for up front so there are no receipts to submit either.


Just one more way that Lime helps the “you” of today take care of the “you” of tomorrow.



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