According to TechCrunch, Forward offers patients a medical staff equipped with technology such as artificial intelligence and proprietary digital stethoscopes to more effectively monitor your health and treat symptoms before they develop into full-blown problems. Member patients pay $149 monthly to manage their wellness care with providers who do everything from blood testing to nutrition counseling. The fee includes access to staff, a native app, and wearable sensors. Its state-of-the-art office contains six exam rooms and a testing lab onsite.
In a post on Medium, CEO and Founder Adrian Aoun explained that the idea for Forward arose after a family member suffered a heart attack. The experience made Aoun more sensitive to healthcare’s use of antiquated technologies — and also to the healthcare industry’s application of technology to treat costly afflictions such as heart attacks rather than treating patients while they are well. He saw an opportunity to empower physicians with the right tools and environment to help them adapt to a focus on wellness care.
But he decided that he needed a fresh approach. Rather than try to reengineer existing healthcare system, he created an alternative in Founder’s subscription-based approach. As he wrote:
The primary function of software in the healthcare industry today is not to take care of people — it’s to make sure everyone gets paid. No one has the incentive to build tools and algorithms to predict your heart attack. Because the sad truth is that your traumatic heart attack is someone else’s financial windfall. The resulting heart bypass surgery generates $100,000+ in revenue for the hospital. There is no one villain here. The entire system is set up for failure.
We started Forward to deliver better health to people at a lower cost. But if we had to do this by working within the existing healthcare system, we wouldn’t even know where to begin. How do you unwind everyone’s broken incentives, retrofit ancient software, and convince a bunch of people to change a system in which they benefit from the status quo? We felt it would make more sense to instead start from scratch and to build things the right way from the start.
Our take: Forward is definitely on to something — and the healthcare system is more incented to change than its CEO might realize. Payment structures for healthcare providers are moving from rewarding physicians for outcomes provided as opposed to fee for service. In the future, providers will be compensated based on how well a provider manages a patient’s health before they required service. And with consumer healthcare premiums and deductibles shifting more of the cost of care to patients, stakeholders in healthcare have more of an incentive to pay for staying healthy than for getting treated for an illness.
Forward has provided a glimpse of how physicians can use technology to manage wellness care — and also to provide a more pleasant experience. In healthcare, combining an experience with data and content creates both patient access and long-term retention. Forward gives all healthcare systems a glimpse at engagement coming sooner than you think.