- Forward, a futuristic doctor’s office that charges a $US150 monthly fee and doesn’t take insurance, is expanding beyond San Francisco to Los Angeles.
- The hope is that the technology embedded into Forward’s practice can “supercharge” doctors to treat patients better than they might without the technology.
- Forward’s investors include Ashton Kutcher, Matthew McConaughey, Kevin Durant, along with Eric Schmidt and Marc Benioff.
Forward, a futuristic doctor’s office that looks “like an Apple Store meets ‘Westworld,’” is setting up shop in Los Angeles.
For $US150 a month, Forward acts as your primary care provider, along with providing some extra perks and technology used with the intent to keep you healthier.
Forward launched in January, and has reportedly raised $US100 million. Its investors include Ashton Kutcher, Matthew McConaughey, Kevin Durant, Alphabet executive chairman Eric Schmidt, and Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff.
Forward’s a type of doctor’s office that’s similar to direct primary care, a small but fast-growing movement of pediatricians, family-medicine physicians, and internists. This group doesn’t accept insurance, and instead charges a monthly membership fee that covers most of what the average patient needs, including visits and prescription drugs at much lower prices.
Direct primary care practices are growing at a time when high-deductible health plans are on the rise — a survey in September 2016 found that 51% of workers had a plan that required them to pay up to $US1,000 out of pocket for healthcare until insurance picks up most of the rest.
Forward CEO Adrian Aoun told Business Insider that his hope is to be the “first at-scale healthcare system,” that is, bringing it to a national level. For the most part, healthcare practices tend to be regional rather than national.
How Forward works
Forward charges $US150 per month (billed annually), which is higher than the price point for most DPC practices, which have monthly fees that are usually between $US50-70, depending on how old you are.
The technology embedded into Forward’s practice is a way to”supercharge” doctors, Aoun said in April, so that they have more time with patients.
Forward’s “baseline” appointments — that is, when you first join — run about an hour long. The difference is that he hopes appointments won’t be filled with time-consuming tests. “What we don’t think is it should be spent on ‘dumb things,'” he said.
To take away some of those procedures, you check in with iPads, get scanned using a proprietary all-in-one scanner that looks at your weight, temperature, heart rate and other vital signs, and your history is projected on a screen in the room. Aoun said in the past few months the practices have also added technology to assess patients’ eye and skin health.
When it comes to new technologies used in healthcare, the effects of using them have to be validated in trials to show that they’re safe and effective compared to standard ways of treating patients. Aoun said Forward’s able to do that by looking at its own patient data, but said that the company would love to evaluate its technology in a peer-reviewed way.
Forward offers other perks, including certain fertility services, along with wanting to use a lot of the data you collect from monitors like sleep trackers. It also comes with an app that you can use to access your information and doctors, and genetic testing to screen for hereditary cancer risks. Like many direct primary care practices, Forward offers generic prescriptions in-house along with some blood tests.
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