Forward brings an entirely new perspective to primary care, changing the way people think about and manage their health. In this series, we’ll introduce you to our technology, explain our care philosophy, and talk to the inspiring doctors, nurses, and members who are helping us improve the system.
Doctor’s orders. Two of the most powerful words in any language, because our lives literally depend on them. When doctors speak, we listen. So who better to tell our story?
We sat down with Forward Doctor Nate Favini to talk about the challenges in today’s health care system, why he joined our care team, and how Forward’s approach to technology is changing the game. Spoiler alert: The prognosis is good.
First things first. Tell us a bit about your background.
I went to Harvard Medical School and did my residency in Primary Care Internal Medicine at Montefiore Medical Center in New York City. After that, we moved back to California for a Health Policy and Management Fellowship at UCLA because I wanted to work on creating change in the healthcare system. I’ve practiced in numerous primary care settings and before coming to Forward I led primary care for a large health system in Southern California.
What drew you to primary care?
Primary care is all about taking care of the entire person in the context of a meaningful relationship. It is the most impactful way to practice medicine. We focus on preventing health problems before they arise and helping people navigate the healthcare system. Unfortunately it has been really neglected here in the US.
How has that affected our health as a society?
As a country, we’ve invested tons of money into curing illness, but much less into preventing it in the first place. As a result, our overall health is poorer and people end up sicker and in the hospital more often.
Talk about technology in health care.
In some ways, technology has come between the doctor and patient. Most doctors spend their time with patients typing away on the computer rather than listening.
At Forward, our technology is designed to support the doctor-patient relationship. I can spend time with the member in front of me, send them results in our app and they can text us 24/7.
Why is that time so important?
To keep your revenue up in a traditional practice, you have to churn people through 15-minute visits. Forward’s Baseline appointment is 90 minutes long. We have time to learn about members and discuss things like diet, exercise, sleep, and stress. Things that you don’t get to focus on in a traditional practice, but clearly have a big impact on someone’s health. We give members lifestyle tools that engage and empower them to manage their health proactively.
How does Forward’s membership structure affect the way you deliver care?
Something that’s really unique is that the doctors at Forward truly only work for the members. Forward’s health memberships means that there’s no conflict of interest. We aren’t generating billing codes. Everything we do is aligned with keeping our members in the best health possible.
It also creates an ongoing relationship. As much as any member wants to be in contact with us, they can be.
99% of a person’s time is spent outside of the doctor’s office. We can help people in those spaces — whether it’s through a remote device that’s checking blood pressure, sugar, or sleep, or chatting with our care team through the app. We can be a supportive presence in people’s lives, helping them to improve their health and navigate the healthcare system.
What kind of successes have you seen, in terms of keeping people well?
Without getting too specific, we had a member come in with an acute medical problem that, in most circumstances, would have required a long hospitalization. We evaluated them in-office and came up with a care plan that allowed the person to be treated at home, through a combination of monitoring with our devices, frequent checkups through the app, phone calls, and follow-up appointments.
We were able to keep that member out of the hospital. They didn’t have to miss a day of work.
And every day in less dramatic but just as important ways, we’re helping members to take control of their health .
How do you see Forward’s approach impacting healthcare in the future?
We are investing in technology to try to find patterns that other healthcare providers don’t see. One day, we hope to predict peoples’s future health — and as a result, create even more personalized plans for our members.
Forward’s long-term vision is to use these advancements to drive down the cost of high quality care for everyone. That’s what inspired me to join. I wanted to make an impact and create change, and Forward is the place where that’s happening.
What’s the best thing about Forward?
Forward lets me care for people in the way I’ve always wanted to as a primary care doctor. Practicing here is a joy and I love that I get to build real relationships with our members. Actually, when you add Forward’s technology, I can provide more personalized care than I ever imagined. I’m thrilled that we’re bringing Forward to the community in Los Angeles!
Nate is seeing members in our Los Angeles location. Our care teams are always ready when you are. Stop by for a tour.