What would you do with a $100 million infusion of cash investment?
Well, a healthcare company many of us have already heard of – called Forward – has had exactly that. And they’re sharing with us exactly what they plan to do with that wad.
As a physician who has not only practiced medicine behind the closed doors of a primary care office, but has also dabbled in the digital space for quite a number of years now, I’m not surprised at what’s coming. But I’m scared.
You can read the specifics of what Forward plans to build according to its CEO, Adrian Aoun, in the Forbes article that recently covered it.
I read about this “advancement” there, and was, as I already mentioned, horrified.
I’m certainly not one to shy away from innovative ventures, or new ways to dole out care (lord knows, we sure need change!), but this particular plan is just odd.
I'm certainly not one to shy away from innovative ventures, or new ways to dole out care (lord knows, we sure need change!), but this particular plan - Forward's 'doc in a box' - is just odd. Click To Tweet
Not only does it turn us into machines, promoting assembly-line medicine, but it also costs a small fortune, coming in at $99/month.
Our future isn’t looking too bright (though it’s plenty bright for the business that owns this!).
When I posted about this on my social media account, I tagged Katie Jennings, the author of the Forbes article, who I hoped would consider writing a follow-up article that included the candid responses of real physicians who have practiced medicine and know that this is “all about the $$$” (cue Cuba Gooding, Jr’s Rod Tidwell; a la “Show me the money!!”)
Here’s some of the share-worthy responses I received on my post:
Me: right. I’m all for forward-thinking solutions.
But to essentially remove all significant overhead (and by that I’m not only referring to ancillary staff, but to minimizing of the space involved to administer care) and replace it with a machine, and then charge more than what most DPC practices across the country charge, doesn’t seem like it’s the right step. If we’re automating and taking away a lot of the personalization here, shouldn’t things be getting cheaper?
To which he replied:
“Yes, of course, things should be getting cheaper. Market might drive that (e.g., Sesame model). Our traditional models have been failing us so far in this respect.”
“What sort of idiot doctor would work for them?”
Me: I mean, I assume anyone who wants to make money working from home, and is willing to take a pay cut in exchange for more time home. That said, at $99/mth per patient, that’s a hefty revenue stream, if they get enough takers. They could actually be paying doctors decent wages.
That said, they also have the option of hiring out non-physicians to dole out care here, to further keep costs down and maximize profits.
Will be interesting to see how this nightmare/innovation (depending on which team you’re on) unfold..
A short break, for a 1:26 minute recorded commentary on this:
Me: well, nowadays, it seems like you need gobs of money to make anything really take off. The scary part is when companies fail, and these amounts end up having been wasted…
As many of us already know, in healthcare, there is a lot of waste. In a 2019 JAMA article, for example, the estimated cost of waste in the US health care system ranged from $760 billion to $935 billion, accounting for approximately 25% of total health care spending.
This is different, of course, from private sector spending, and the raising of capital in order to fuel advancements. If money is lost here, it will have been lost from the pockets of big-time investors, in this case, chomping at the bit to get front row seats for today’s next health innovation. The question for them (and us) is simply, is this going to succeed?
Vinod Dasa MD
(Orthopedic Surgeon, Vice Chair, Researcher, Entrepreneur, Innovator, Consultant)
“This may cut into the urgent care in person business vs patients “cheating” on their pcp.”
Me: good point.
That said, I can’t imagine ppl coughing up (no pun intended) $99 a month just for a machine supplement. Not when you can purchase a telehealth visit from Costco for $30.
Healthcare’s becoming quite an interesting space, I tell you…