At Forward, we believe that access to primary care is essential. We fear the impact of the pandemic may be much greater than expected if people are unable to get care for every day medical needs and chronic conditions, ultimately leading to many more deaths than the virus itself. To stand by our mission of making quality healthcare available to those who need it most, all of our locations are staying open, and we’re developing new ways to bring care to our members at home.
The 2019 novel coronavirus has drastically impacted the lives of people around the world, including more than 316 million of us here in the U.S. currently under stay-at-home orders. Because of the virus, hospitals are overwhelmed — focusing exclusively on patients with COVID-19 — while most primary care offices around the country have been forced to close. This has left millions of people with limited options to get medical care for matters that are unrelated to COVID-19.
The figure above illustrates the various waves of a pandemic and why it’s important to prioritize your health needs. The first wave represents what we are already witnessing — the tragic loss of life resulting from COVID-19. The U.S. now has over 40,000 deaths directly attributed to the virus, and experts expect that number to increase over the coming weeks.
The second wave represents individuals with urgent conditions that are not able to get care because of COVID-19. These might be people who are already sick and are unable to receive transfusions or chemotherapy because hospitals are rationing out blood and resources. This group also includes people who suffer an emergency event at this time like a car accident or appendicitis and are fearful of coming into hospitals for treatment or choose to come in and find that operating rooms are being turned into intensive care units.
The third wave will be larger than the first and second waves if we don’t act quickly. The majority of the U.S. is currently delaying preventive visits like check-ups for mammograms, blood tests for cholesterol management and dermatology scans for skin cancer. Lack of care and delay in diagnosis may lead to many more deaths than the virus itself. This is why Forward is not only staying open, but increasing our ability to provide care for our members at home.
- Unlimited Visits: In addition to the robust in-person visits Forward is known for, members are now able to get the same experience from their doctors at home. Going beyond a traditional video call, we’re bringing our Smart Screen, a collaborative display, from our exam rooms into our members’ homes and onto their personal devices.
- Biometrics Monitoring: Sensors will be sent to members for tracking three important vitals — temperature, blood oxygenation, and blood pressure. Monitoring is automated to immediately alert the care team if an intervention is needed.
- 24/7 Access To A Doctor: We understand the importance of getting answers when you need them. Our doctors and care team are available 24/7 via the Forward app to answer questions, write prescriptions and give medical advice.
- Mental Health Support: Feelings of anxiety, depression and stress are normal during a crisis, and we encourage members to utilize the mental health check-in feature in the Forward app. Results are reviewed by the care team, offering immediate support and medical guidance as needed.
Adhering to social distancing orders and avoiding unnecessary trips outdoors is the right thing to do, but it’s also essential to continue to be proactive about your health. With Forward, you can manage your health from the safety of your home. If you’re interested in learning more about how Forward can provide personalized, preventive care to you, visit our website and take our quiz.