When you think of visiting the doctor, what’s the first thing that comes to mind? A waiting room filled with old magazines? A series of similarly-looking exam rooms? Walls adorned with motivational posters? All of this could soon change as the next generation of medical technology merges with rising expectations for healthcare.
Data analytics, Artificial Intelligence (A.I.), biometric sensors; as the number of patient-centred medical applications continues to grow, their integration with commercial enterprises could soon fundamentally change the doctor’s office environment. Forward, a medical start-up based in San Francisco, is a prime example of this, operating from a 3,500-square foot office equipped with an on-site laboratory, 6 exam rooms and the latest medical technologies.
Forward’s on-site laboratory can run blood tests in just 12 minutes, whilst DNA sequencing can help identify cancer risks. A biometric sensor can calculate weight, height, blood pressure, body temperature and heart-rate, amongst others. This data is then analysed by their A.I. network and uploaded to a large display screen in each room, including patient vitals, medication advice and dietary recommendations based on their genetic code. This can also run through Forward’s mobile smartphone app which provides 24/7 access to medical personnel as well as giving patients a mobile copy of their data. They even have an on-site pharmacy that can fill prescriptions and a store that specialises in vitamins, supplements and wearables.
When it comes to payment, Forward takes a rather refreshing approach. Moving away from insurance premiums; Forward offers unlimited access to its entire medical support structure for just $149 per month, including blood tests, wellness counselling, ongoing monitoring and 24/7 support through their app. Medical debt is the biggest contributor to debt in the U.S., however this approach could help save lives when you consider the number of those currently without health insurance. Forward also comes at a time when 20 million face the prospect of losing their insurance following the repeal of the Affordable Care Act.
By providing specific and real-time data that is unique to them, patients can make informed decisions regarding their health, shifting the focus from reactive medicine to preventative medicine.
With a plan to expand throughout the Bay Area and beyond, Forward signifies the next generation of GP medicine – one powered by reactive methodology and state-of-the-art technology. Putting the focus on the patient rather than insurance premiums, equipping doctors with real-time data rather than hefty waits, making healthcare more effective in the mobile age – three elements the healthcare industry sorely needs right now.