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Going to the doctor is a pain. Can Silicon Valley help?

Forward CEO Adrian Aoun explains what tech can do for health and wellness on Too Embarrassed to Ask.

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A primary care doctor at Forward looks over a patient’s weight loss goals displayed on a screen. Forward

It may seem like Facebook and your doctor’s office don’t have much in common. But that should change, Forward CEO Adrian Aoun says.

“When Facebook changes some features, everybody yells,” Aoun said on the latest episode of Too Embarrassed to Ask. “And you actually get change: ‘Facebook, you’re being creepy. Uber, stop tracking my location.’ And all of a sudden, Uber’s like, ‘Fine fine fine.’”

“Think what your experience is like today: You go to the doctor and you’re like, ‘I didn’t like that experience,’” he added. “Whatever it happens to be, how do you get that changed? You don’t have an outlet.”

Forward charges $149 per month for all-you-can-use access to its resources, including unlimited doctor’s visits, blood tests and programs like anxiety reduction and weight loss. And the emphasis is on creating an Apple Store-like experience of friendliness and transparency, arming patients with the ability to track their medical history at any time from a companion app.

However, it doesn’t work with any insurance you may have from your job or a government agency. If patients need something more than a primary care doctor — like an oncologist — Aoun said Forward will refer them to a specialist in the network of their main insurance provider.

You can listen to the new podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Pocket Casts, Overcast or wherever you listen to podcasts.

This podcast interview was taped before BuzzFeed reported that Forward had raised $100 million to expand across the U.S. Sources confirmed the new funding round to Recode.

Aoun hinted that lower-cost offerings are in the works and that Forward is trying to add new services that can be automated without more labor, meaning the cost of the subscription wouldn’t need to go up. But for now, the goal is to encourage customers to take a proactive role in their own health and wellness, making a visit to the doctor’s office something they want to do

“If you walk into a public hospital, a lot of what they’re doing is treating people that don’t really want to be treated,” he said. “We haven’t gone after that market yet; eventually, we’d love to.”

“But it’s tricky to do that because a lot of the health-care system today is super paternalistic: ‘You don’t know what’s good for you, so I’m going to con you into this, or I’m going to force you into this,’” he added. “And that’s not what we want. We want people that want to engage with their health.”

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