At Forward, we’re doing something that no one’s ever done before: Providing a new type of healthcare that combines cutting-edge technology, personalized plans and real-time results with 24/7 connected care. To us, at least, becoming a Forward member seems like kind of a no-brainer.
But, as good as the service is, why do doctors come to work at Forward, and leave the comfort and familiarity of traditional healthcare behind? Maybe it’s the opportunity to work with Smart Screens, Body Scanners and biometric sensors. Or, maybe it’s a chance to “focus on creating personalized healthcare plans for members,” says Dr. David Popiel, a physician currently at Forward’s San Francisco location in the Financial District.
We spoke with Dr. Popiel to find out why Forward was the right fit — here’s what he told us.
How did you know that you wanted to become a doctor?
As a college student, I volunteered at the University of Chicago Children’s Hospital creating art projects and reading books with sick children. When you get a chance to experience first-hand the healing power of the human connection, it’s impossible not to get hooked, and so I went to medical school with the intention of becoming a pediatrician. But then a rotation through the Young Men’s Clinic in New York City introduced me to the deep impact of adult medicine, which is how I got into adult primary care.
What made you excited to join Forward?
Forward allows me to do what I love — build relationships with members and create individualized health plans. Forward leverages modern technology and scientific advances to supercharge my ability to provide personalized care recommendations and engage in ongoing dialogue to support our members in achieving their health goals. I also feel lucky to be part of a team at Forward where the passion for providing high-quality care is evident throughout all levels of the organization: From the engineers designing our medical record system, to the team interacting on our mobile platform, and through the medical assistants welcoming members to on-site appointments.
What kind of medicine do you really enjoy practicing?
Movement and physical fitness are core aspects of general wellness, but also critical to the management of many chronic medical conditions. Aerobic activity, strength training, stretching, and even meditative exercise have therapeutic benefits that are often untapped. I really enjoy incorporating physical activity and mindfulness recommendations into my health advice, whether the intention is to optimize an aspect of general wellness, or to achieve specific goals integral to a rehabilitation program.
What kinds of challenges faced by the traditional healthcare system were you most excited to leave behind?
I became a doctor in an era when most healthcare systems were transitioning from handwritten medical records to electronic documentation, and physicians struggled to divide their attention between computer screens and their patients. If medicine is going to succeed into the future, doctors will need to reshape their relationship with technology and find a way to synergistically provide medical care that is both human and tech-enabled — something I think Forward does exceptionally well.
What’s the morning like in the Popiel household?
My morning routine centers around breakfast with my kids. Conversation hinges around challenging topics like, “What would life on Venus look like?”, or, “What if reptiles could fly?” and even, “Can you be both a superhero and a villain?” Trust me — it’s extremely stimulating!
Forward members enjoy comprehensive primary health care with a single monthly fee. From complete blood work and advanced genetic analyses to help diagnose and prevent disease to virtual and in-person visits, we offer unmatched convenience, including 24/7 access to your Care Team and in-app prescription ordering.