A slew of articles in several media outlets from CNN to TechCrunch have recently highlighted a medical disruptor called Forward that opened its first “doctor's office” in San Francisco in mid-January. I think it holds an important perspective into what is in store for all of us and how our offices operate.
The flagship location completely reimagines the patient experience. Unlike the uncomfortable, stuffy waiting rooms most of us are accustomed to, the space is designed with an open, inviting floor plan with interactive gadgets and six private consulting rooms. It is a highly digitized, interactive experience in which patients design their own health plans and have monitors to track their health. This data is measured on their mobile devices and shared with a dedicated team of doctors and nurses 24/7. As if that is not disruptive enough, they charge a flat $149 fee per month to give the patient an initial screening, as well as constant monitoring and access to medical help and guidance on demand. The firm uses artificial intelligence to ensure consistent diagnosis and treatment for patients. The founding team and investors have backgrounds in technology and come from Facebook and Google. Whether this business model works or not, it is still likely to accelerate the push by the entire medical profession into a more consumer-empowered direction. Imagine the Apple store meets Kaiser.
THE EMPOWERED CLIENT
Now imagine how that might be replicated in our industry.
INTO THE FUTURE
In the past several years, many doctors have shifted to concierge medicine (charging an annual fee for wellness and maintenance) to serve fewer patients and still stay profitable. How many of them can make the investment to further enhance the way they deliver their service? The digitized medical experience that Forward intends to deliver will allow one office to literally serve thousands of patients in a more dynamic, and ultimately superior, way than most doctors could ever replicate with their existing infrastructure and systems.
In many ways, wealth managers are in a similar predicament. There is too little investment in the client experience, tools that are not engaging to clients and a way of delivering service that feels stale. But the opportunity to shift and take market share has never been greater because technology is making it possible and so few firms are actually reimagining themselves and how they serve clients. Only those who do will thrive.