Forward CEO and former Google exec Adrian Aoun says the healthcare industry needs to better prioritise preventative care

ForwardAdrian Ao un, found and CEO of Forward.
  • Adrian Aoun, the founder and CEO of healthcare startup Forward, recently spoke at Business Insider’s IGNITION 2018 conference in New York.

  • Aoun talked about the importance of not only providing reactive care, but prioritising preventative care.

  • Forward plans to “build the first billion-person healthcare system” on top of its platform by turning healthcare into “a product.”

Adrian Aoun, the founder and CEO of healthcare startup Forward, spoke about the importance of preventative care at the annual IGNITION conference, hosted by Business Insider, in New York on Dec. 3.

Aoun, a former Google executive, started Forward just two years ago, and has since opened futuristic-looking doctors offices in Los Angeles, San Francisco, and New York City. Memberships work like that of a gym: you pay a monthly fee, starting at $US150, and doctors work alongside patients to monitor health risks with advanced AI technology.

If you’d like to watch his presentation, it starts at 2:23:14 here.

Here are some of the key takeaways:

“Have you ever lost someone close to you? Did you think ‘I wish I could have done more?’ Turns out you could, if you listened to the clues.”

Forward/Adrian Aoun

“Health problems are all around us, happening to everyone. There’s always a surprise. So how are we getting blindsided by these? How could we miss this? The clues on how to solve these problems are everywhere,” Aoun said. “I want a healthcare system that is preventative, not reactive. One that listens to the clues instead of waiting for the catastrophes.”

At the conference, Aoun used his brother’s recent heart attack as an example as to why reactive healthcare can be problematic.

Forward/Adrian AounA slide about Forward’s car dic ultrasound technology, from Aoun’s presentation.

“Our cardiovascular ultrasound, that our doctors can take to your carotid artery and your heart so you can literally see how your valves are opening and closing live right in front of you,” he said. “The first time my brother had this done was in the ER when he was literally having a heart attack. If we had just listened to these clues a decade prior, we could have had a real chance to prevent it.”

“The sound of your heart is it speaking to us. There is data in your everyday.”

Forward/Adrian AounA slide from Ao un’s presentation.

Forward begins by “looking for clues in the past” of each patient, Aoun explained. It does that by digitising old medical records and using advanced AI technology to get a better picture of each patient.

A typical doctor visit at Forward starts with a 3D body scan, measuring things like resting metabolic rate (when your body is at ease) and body composition.

Forward/Adrian AounA slide from Aoun’s presentation at the IGNITION 2018 conference.

“We take a millimetre-precision body model so we can listen to the clues. Even things as simple as your hip-to-waist ratio are good predictors of whether you are going to develop heart disease.”

Then, a one-on-one meeting with a doctor fills in remaining questions about family medical history, in addition to ordering blood tests and creating a preventative plan.

Forward/Adrian Aoun

The body scan and an EKG take less than two minutes to complete at Forward, said Aoun. Forward is also located in convenient places, like shopping malls in major cities for those with busy schedules.

Forward/Adrian Aoun

The startup has three locations in Los Angeles, one in San Francisco, and two in New York City.

“We sequence your DNA to equip doctors with 3 billion clues about you.”

Forward/Adrian Aoun

Forward also analyses genetic data to determine whether or not a patient is prone to hereditary diseases, like the gene mutation that causes colon cancer.

“When you combine all the clues, that is how you change healthcare,” said Aoun.

Forward/Adrian Aoun

Patients can monitor their preventative care plan on the Forward app, plugging in data points every day, and the app is compatible with some wearable tech products like the Apple Watch.

“Our vision is to create the first healthcare system at scale. When you think of scale in terms of healthcare, what do you think of?” asked Aoun.

Forward/Adrian Aoun

Aoun said Kaiser is one of a few healthcare companies in the industry that is changing the way patients receive care.

“Kaiser has 11.7 million lives, that’s less than three per cent of the United States. If Kaiser was a tech company, you would have never heard of it and you wouldn’t have the app on your phone,” he said. “Why haven’t they been able to scale to billions of users like tech companies have? Well, it turns out that $US200,000 a year doctors don’t scale to the middle of India and the middle of Rwanda very well.”

Aoun concluded his conference presentation by saying, “We want to listen at scale. We want to build the first billion-person healthcare system.”

Forward/Adrian Aoun

“The way to do that is to take healthcare from being a service into being a product – reinventing the healthcare system on top of a platform like Forward.”

Read more from Business Insider’s IGNITION 2018 conference here.

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