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Forward launches 'Forward At Home' to help patients with day-to-day medical needs amid COVID-19

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Adrian Aoun, Founder & CEO of Forward, joined Yahoo Finance's Jen Rogers to discuss how the company is helping patients monitor their health at home when going to a doctor's office isn't an option.

Video Transcript

JEN ROGERS: So we have seen the stay-at-home trade really propel a number of trends during this time of coronavirus, and telemedicine is one of those. I want to bring in Adrian Aoun. Forward is a telemedicine play here. Can you tell us about this company? What separates you from the rest of the pack that you guys are doing differently?

ADRIAN AOUN: Sure. So Forward is a national primary-care practice. We basically have locations in most major cities throughout the United States, and our whole model is we start by hiring the best kind of doctors you can find from Harvard, from Yale, from Stanford, all kind of the best doctors out there. And then we combine them with our own advanced medical technologies. The idea is that they can use those to identify biological signals sooner, helping you to prevent disease and illness.

So let's kind of take a look maybe at how this has played out in kind of the COVID world. So a couple months ago, we launched our COVID assessment product. So this is even before the CDC had guidelines on how to assess risk, all of our members had access to an automated tool that they could answer some questions about things like their symptoms, their travel history, et cetera, and get personalized medical advice on COVID, things like should they isolate? should they get tested? should they leave the city they're in or stop the medication they're on?

Now, within days of launching that, we then obviously had kind of nationwide testing in all of our locations, including kind of drives through, walk through, et cetera. Fast forward to a point where today we've actually cared for even more COVID patients than the majority of large health-care systems like the Stanfords and UCSFs.

Now what you're asking about is a little more like where are we going? And it's one of the things that we had to do to start caring for all these COVID members. So let's just say you're worried about having COVID. Right now your choice has been to stay at home or go into a hospital, and the reality is that's a really scary choice, right? Going into a hospital puts you at a lot of risk.

And so what we said is rather than having people just kind of stay home and avoid care-- which in places like New York you see almost a hundred people dying per day-- we said why don't we go into the home and kind of deliver the care where they are? So we started delivering sensors into people's homes. We now do things like in-home blood draws, in-home urine analysis, which is basically we send trained professionals into your home in kind of full PPE so we can kind meet you where you are now.

This isn't just live for our COVID patients. This is now live for all Forward members. It's something we call Forward at Home. And basically coming back to that notion that we want to use our technology to truly understand you. We start with what's called a baseline. So rather than normal health-care system that kind of just wait for something to go wrong and be reactive, we're preventative. And the way we do that is we start by collecting a bunch of information. So think did--

JEN ROGERS: And that's, like, when I first join and everything? That's when you get that?

ADRIAN AOUN: Exactly. When you first join, we give you those sensors. We do that kind of blood test. We even give you a genetics kit so we can sequence your DNA. Then you can pull out your phone, and you can fill out your full profile, things like, where have you traveled to? Things like, which surgeries have you had? Which medications are you on? Who in your family has had what diseases? What are your allergies?

And then what happens is we take-- we kind of think of all these as kind of clues or signals that empower your doctor to have the best insights about your care. So then what happens is it all culminates with you having a video conference with your doctor. We use the Forward smart-screen technology that we've pulled from our clinics. Basically as you're chatting, imagine a model of your body, an interactive model with all the information overlaid on top. And then you and your doctor--

JEN ROGERS: It sounds expensive. I said, it sounds expensive. You've got a lot--

ADRIAN AOUN: I know.

JEN ROGERS: --going on there, you know? We have to jump, but I'm definitely interested. But how expensive is this for people?

ADRIAN AOUN: Yeah, so it's $149 a month with no co-pays, no upsells, nothing else.

JEN ROGERS: $149 a month, and you get all that too?

ADRIAN AOUN: Yep.

JEN ROGERS: Interesting. And what cities are you operational in?

ADRIAN AOUN: So we're live in San Francisco, Orange County, LA, New York, DC, Chicago, San Jose, Seattle. We're in a bunch of different cities now.

JEN ROGERS: All right, Adrian Aoun is with Forward, a new model for primary care where it looks like you don't even have to leave your house, which is kind of convenient right now since we're all stuck there. Adrian, good to have you on the program. We have much more coming up in just two minutes.

ADRIAN AOUN: Thanks so much.