Publish 11 January 2022
High-Tech Medical Care
Forward is not insurance. It is more akin to concierge medicine (that is not available to Medicare recipients). You can schedule an unlimited amount of in-office visits and lab tests at no additional cost. The service does not include urgent care, radiology, or surgical procedures. But your Forward doctor can send prescriptions to your local pharmacy.
Doctor visits to your local Forward office are what you might expect if Apple was a healthcare company. Your weight, blood oxygen, body temperature, and blood pressure feed into your medical records. A traditional blood draw sends a vial to the onsite lab. Here, they can test for cholesterol, blood sugar, vitamin levels, and anything else your doctor feels is appropriate. On-site urinalysis is also available.
During consultation, notes, goals, and data updates appear on a large voice activated touch screen. Medical assistants offer refreshments at the end of your visits.
Genetic testing from 23andMe is available with your subscription. This optional service appears to be competing with Ancestry, so much of the genealogical data is superfluous to health care. A few key markers like BRC genes may be useful.
During most follow-up visits you see a medical assistant who checks vitals, and draws blood. Forward subscription includes an app that gives patients access to the same information on the flatscreen. The doctor can also import historical medical records from your primary physician.
The value comes when utilizing the services—frequently. Most often, patients use regular healthcare only for annual checkups or catastrophic crises. Through the Forward app, you receive text alerts and reminders that can help you reach your goals. Send and receive texts 24/7. Chat about stomach pains, sleeping difficulties, rising blood pressure, or whatever ails you.
You can enroll in a weight management program to help reach appropriate goals. Share your daily steps and weight from the Apple iOS Health app with the Forward app. To track blood pressure, you can either enter it in the iOS Health app that shares it with Forward or manually type it within the Forward app.
Your Forward doctor can coordinate special care with your personal physician. In my experience, Forward is more accessible—especially during the pandemic. If all you want is a text service, there are less expensive options. But for all the services Forward provides, it can be a useful preventative medicine supplement to your insurance plan—unless your healthcare needs are extensive.