Startup combines direct primary care and technology

Blue screen for health technology
Forward is betting that direct primary care can go mainstream. Credit: Getty/Pixtum

A couple of veteran techies have launched a primary care practice with a patient experience that's reminiscent of visiting an Apple store—or the set of a sci-fi movie. 

The Forward clinic was started by two entrepreneurs who admittedly know more about technology than medicine but have set out to create a direct primary care practice that provides patients with the latest technology at an affordable cost, according to Fast Company.

As with other direct care practices, the doctors at the company’s San Francisco office don’t take insurance and in this case charge a monthly fee of $149, according to its website.


2019 Drug Pricing and Reimbursement Stakeholder Summit

Given federal and state pricing requirements arising, press releases from industry leading pharma companies, and the new Drug Transparency Act, it is important to stay ahead of news headlines and anticipated requirements in order to hit company profit targets, maintain value to patients and promote strong, multi-beneficial relationships with manufacturers, providers, payers, and all other stakeholders within the pricing landscape. This conference will provide a platform to encourage a dialogue among such stakeholders in the pricing and reimbursement space so that they can receive a current state of the union regarding regulatory changes while providing actionable insights in anticipation of the future.

The company was started by Adrian Aoun, who ran special projects for Google, and Ilya Abyzov, a former Uber executive. Aoun got the idea for the medical practice after a close relative had a serious cardiac event and went to the emergency room. "The bill was the second heart attack. I couldn't believe that what you pay for is the extra days in the hospital [and] the duplicate tests,” he told Fast Company.

Aoun thought he could do better by giving direct primary a high-tech touch.

So Forward offers members standard medical services along with genetic screening tests, body scanners, wearable sensors, artificial intelligence software and a self-developed electronic medical record system.

The concept is similar to technology-driven primary care group One Medical Group, which has more than 50 practices across the country, but which differs in that it accepts most patients’ insurance.

Forward looks and feels different than a traditional doctor’s office. Patients check in at an iPad station, step into a body scanner to measure weight, pulse oximetry and other metrics, and are given comfortable workout gear to wear during their visit.

The practice also uses medical scribes so doctors can spend more time with patients rather than inputting information into the electronic health record.

Forward is betting that direct primary care can go mainstream, although its current $149 monthly fee is high compared to other direct primary care models that charge in the range of $50-$80 and is more in line with a concierge practice that appeals to wealthier patients. Aoun told Fast Company the price should come down over time.

The clinic also offers medical care for those who cannot afford it: With the help of local organizations and donors, 15% of Forward’s members will be sponsored, according to San Francisco News. 

Suggested Articles

Two lawsuits were filed suing the Trump administration to overturn a new rule that would allow healthcare workers to deny care over religious or conscience…

Policy changes are affecting how investors view the skilled home health market and paving the way for potential strategic acquisitions.

JLABS executive Kate Merton talks about the JLABS model and Johnson & Johnson’s interest in digital health.