Vivoo As A Wellness App
Vivoo began as a specialized testing tool for urinalysis, with little else it could do. Over time it has morphed into trying to be the one place to manage overall wellness. This includes aggregating step counts, sleep data, and heart rate. While a majority of the app features are still free, this Vivoo review covers the at home test kits, Vivoo wellness score and accuracy, and nutrition options offered.
It does this all by tying into Apple Health or Google Fit, and pulling data from your linked wearable. Along with the original test, and nutrition plans, this puts Vivoo as a competitor to Apple Health and others.
In addition to being a standard wellness tracker, Vivoo offers at home test kits to learn about your health. This is still the primary way the service is monetized. The data is aggregated into a wellness score, which is central to the app experience. They make over-the-counter test strips that can be scanned by a smartphone and use the connected Vivoo app to deliver results.
Urinalysis at home is becoming more popular, since it has the potential to unlock loads of information and is less intimidating to administer than blood tests.
Marketed as “personalized nutrition and lifestyle advice” the test don’t require any collaboration with a doctor. For people on defined diets, Vivoo is designed to suggest modifications to include more nutrients that may be out of “normal” ranges based on the tests.
How often can I use the Vivoo app?
The claims on their website and ads say it offers a way to “check my body”, and they mean on a daily basis. This is rather vague as they seem to bury what is actually checked. More importantly though Vivoo is highlighted as a Wellness Assistant, and this is the point of the daily checks. The test strips are more of a once a week check in, with daily behavior more about habits and less about the individual results.
This positioning is more aligned to the actual value. Although the wellness is based around results from the urinalysis, there are main nutrition changes and habits it can suggest. It also offers a defined way to measure hydration, although for the cost this may be impractical to take daily readings. This means that Vivoo can, and should, find a way to be engaging on a daily basis, not just a weekly thing when you do take a test.
In this sense Vivoo, and Vessel the other urinalysis home kit reviewed, can be compared to products like Noom, MyFitnessPal, and other nutrition assistance products.
The starter pack for Vivoo was selling for $25 for a pack of four test. Likely as a growth hacking promotion the kit also included a free fifth test that was packaged separately in a sleeve that suggested you share the extra test with a friend or family member. Still, for $5 a test Vivoo is less expensive than the Vessel tests reviewed previously.
There is a lot of trust placed in a company that you plan to share daily health readings with. Is this secure?
Security of Vivoo, and Vessel, data is important since urinalysis data is so personal. Since the app also asks for additional information, and can share this information with Apple Health kit and other apps, knowing the data is safely handled matters personally even if it’s not a full concern that is limited by HiPPA.
Scanning a test to get a quick and useful result that can enable behavior changes. The goal for a company like Vivoo should be to make it easy to take a test, but more importantly to deliver actionable insights and results based on the test.
Is Vivoo Accurate?
Although Vivoo is FDA registered, details on the scientific accuracy of there tests is hard to come by. The Vivoo app is not FDA registered and they caveat that their claims are not diagnostic. Other competitors, including Helathy.io, have appeared to achieved regulatory clearance as well. Vessel tests are also unclear. Similar urinalysis test strips proved to be only 50% accurate for identifying ketosis (source).
As a urinalysis product the test strips do not need regulatory approval before they can be marketed. All they require is a registration. The exact FDA statement is:
A premarket notification application and fda clearance is not required before marketing the device in the U.S. however, these manufacturers are required to register their establishment. (Source)
The major difference in the two test strips (Vivoo and Vessel) is that Vivoo does not have tests for Biotin or Cortisol. Sadly, these are the two tests that have (in 5 samples) failed to yield a readable result within the Vessel app. From frustration alone, peeing on a stick, waiting 3 minutes, spending a minute trying to get the test to register in the app, and waiting 20 minutes only to be told the results failed makes the product experience terrible.
These are both lateral flow tests, compared to the color metric tests that Vivoo works on. Maybe the lateral flow test and reading ability will improve, but until they do Vivoo wins on the experience. Even though it tests for less things, avoiding the test failure makes it feel more reliable.
Ultimately the Vivoo test measures Ph of the body, hydration, presence of white blood cells in urine, kidney and liver function based on markers, ketones, and monitors for potential urinary tract infection.
Taking a Vivoo test is easy. Each strip is made out of a thick paper stock and treated with reagents at one end. Peeing on the eight squares of color for 2-3 seconds is enough to get a sample. The urine, which Vivoo notes is primarily made up of water, interacts with the chemicals in those squares. Each then changes color slightly based on the presence and amount of the nutrient or mineral being measured.
The strips themselves are secure, but certainly fee a little flimsy compared to other tests. This should be overlooked though as the real science is not in the construction of the test strip, but rather in the chemical reaction and the paired ability for a camera to accurately read the resulting color generated.
Thankfully Vivoo also makes a point to give a single wellness score. This is one area where the presence of their marketed “wellness assistant” shines. Rather than trying to educate a consumer on the fundamental science, the assistant presents actionable everyday descriptions of the results.
While it is certainly beneficial to understand Ph if you want to change an alkaline solution, it is not critical if you simply want to eat a diet that will improve your wellness. The single score also makes it easier to validate general good health, and offers a way to suggest when a deeper five is needed. This is a casual way of presenting information that could otherwise be overwhelming, and is likely to be more effective by not overwhelming or intimidating you right away.
How actionable are Vivoo test results?
In contract to Vessel, which links to scientific studies describing the links of each test to correlated findings Vivoo offers a simple checklist of tasks.
The wellness assistant’s focus of tasks does what you would expect of any personal assistance. Simplicity in moving forward is key and Vivoo provides 3-4 tasks that can be checked off after each test. No need to describe the performance impact of hydration, just a simple check mark with a note to drink extra water.
The Vivoo team could go further in gamifying the results. Each task is presented just with a check mark, but is absent of any score or influence on wellness. Over time I would expect to see their product managers adding more engagement based actions that suggest reasons to come back and use the app daily.
This is critically important since a daily test would result in $1500 worth of annual fees. what’s more, even though trends in the results are important, a daily result of some markers could have huge variability while others are unlikely to change in less than 2-3 weeks.
Diet based recommendations are the most prevalent tasks. This is due to what can be measured from the color tests. Integration of other blood tests, cortisol tests, DNA tests, or allergy could make the Vivoo wellness assistant even more impactful. This Vivoo test review was written while they are still a young company.
Over time a wellness assistant is likely to involve more monitoring. This could be through integration of fitness tracking, sleep tracking, diet logging, vital statistics monitoring, or more. Vivoo does a solid job though of only focusing now on a small segment of tests which they can reasonable produce and control. Rather than over promising on the long term vision (something they probably do internally and in presentations to investors) the Vivoo team is thoughtful about representing to their customers why to expect. This focus on simplifying for customers a potential complex subject should serve them well.