As the US healthcare industry continues to reel from unprecedented change, new business models are emerging from unexpected sources. PwC has identified four disrupter archetypes: vertical integrators (e.g., CVS Health and Aetna), employer activists (e.g., Haven), technology invaders (e.g., Apple) and health retailers (e.g., Walmart).
Yet, there is a San Francisco-based startup that combines several of these elements — Forward. Demolishing barriers that traditional healthcare systems still cling to, Forward does not work with insurance companies. Instead, they charge patients a $149-a-month fee that covers everything, even labs.
The company also differentiates itself by embedding artificial intelligence, sensors and mobile apps in ways that makes healthcare more closely mirror other high tech consumer experiences.
While Forward somewhat immodestly sees itself as “the primary care of the future,” it’s easy to understand why even the most casual millennial and gen Z patients might agree. With its sleek environs, unlimited visits (scheduled to actually start on time!) and easy subscription billing, Forward has the potential to redefine the healthcare experience. Yet, its technology, upscale retail footprint and hospitality-influenced patient experience can all be replicated by traditional healthcare competitors — if they don’t wait too long.