Is this Apple Store-inspired setup the future of health care? Forward says yes

forward future of healthcare screen shot 2017 01 22 at 2 45 03 pm
When it comes down to it, none of us really want to be spending time in a doctor’s office. So really, there’s no point in making them feel all that homey, right? That certainly seems to be the approach taken by Forward, a new healthcare company that is doing away with the waiting rooms of today’s overstuffed armchairs and toys, and replacing it with a setup that seems to prioritize efficiency above all else.

Indeed, the aesthetic of Forward is inspired more by an Apple Store than your at-home sofa, and according to serial entrepreneur and Forward founder Adrian Aoun, his new venture is like “an Apple Store that learns so it gets better with more data.”

On Tuesday, the modern healthcare provider opened its doors for the first time, inviting patients (who are “members”) in for everything from a pap smear to a vaccine to a physical. It’s the ultimate in modernity — the facility is practically littered with tech gadgets (including some that you’re meant to take home). Members complete their check-in process on an iPad, then make their way to a full-body scanner that sends their vitals to Forward’s AI algorithms. New members also get their blood work and genetic tests done, all of which is ultimately sent to a doctor so he or she has a comprehensive idea of a patient’s health before they ever meet.

Indeed, by the time doctor and patient meet for the first time, just about all the work is already done. At that point, the healthcare professional simply walks members through their data on a giant touchscreen (it’s make-believe participatory, you see). Then, once a diagnosis has been made and a treatment plan agreed upon, members are sent home with a wearable, which tracks and submits health data to their doctors in real-time so progress can be closely monitored.

Think of the service almost as that of an Equinox health club — for $149 a month, you get unlimited access to the facility, including doctor’s visits, continuous monitoring, and some prescriptions. Insurance isn’t accepted and you can’t pay month-to-month — for now, this is a year-long commitment. The $149 doesn’t include the cost of insurance, which members should still keep should they need to be hospitalized or to undergo surgery. That said, Forward is currently giving away some free memberships to those who need it.

Ultimately, Aoun told Forbes, the goal of Forward is to change how healthcare is perceived. Whereas most healthcare today is seen as a “once-and-done” process, there ought to be a continual relationship between patient and doctor. “The things that kill us are not the sore throats and rashes, but rather chronic conditions,” he said.

And doctors like Aaliya Yaqub, who went to UCLA then Stanford, agrees. “Your visit with your doctor is not the end of your physical for the year — it’s a continual process,” he said in an interview with Forbes.

So if you’re looking for a new doctor in the Bay Area, maybe consider getting a new outlook on medicine as a whole with Forward.

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