The Forward CarePod is claimed to be the first artificially intelligent doctor's office.
The CarePod pitch is easy to understand. Why spend hours in a doctor’s office to get your throat swabbed for strep throat? Walk into the CarePod, soon to be located in malls and office buildings, and answer some questions to determine the appropriate test. CarePod users can get their blood drawn, throat swabbed and blood pressure read — most of the frontline clinical work performed in primary care offices, all without a doctor or nurse. Custom AI powers the diagnosis, and behind the scenes, doctors write the appropriate prescription, which is available nearly immediately.
Unlike most doctor’s offices, Forward also takes a different approach to payments. Instead of insurance and a co-pay, Forward offers unlimited access to its medical staff, baseline screening, blood and genetic testing, wellness and nutrition counseling, ongoing monitoring from wearable sensors provided at the clinic, support and access to its AI and 24/7 access to medical staff through the app — all for $149 per month.
[Former Googler and Wavii founder Adrian] Aoun hopes this difference in both payment and care will put the focus on prevention instead of sickness — and for those without insurance, it may be a more affordable health plan as well, barring any major issues.
Science fiction fans have been waiting for a long time to see this, even in its most basic form. Consider the diagnostat from Robert Silverberg's 1969 novel The Man in the Maze:
His legs were in bad shape, though none of the wounds seemed really serious... Muller got the diagnostat going.
"It's an old model," Rawlins said. "I'm not sure what to do."
"Stick your legs in front of the scanner."
Rawlins swiveled about. A blue light played on his wounds. In the bowels of the diagnostat things chuttered and clicked. A swab came forth on a jointed arm and ran deftly and lightly up his left leg... The machine engulfed the bloody swab and began to digest it back into its component molecules... He was getting a coagulant as well as a cleanser...
Hall entered a booth and closed the door behind him. There was a couch, and a mass of complex equipment. In front of the couch was a television screen, which showed several lighted points.
"Sit down," said a flat mechanical voice. "Sit down. Sit down."
He sat on the couch.
"Observe the screen before you. Place your body on the couch so that all points are obliterated."
He looked at the screen. He now saw that the points were arranged in the shape of a man...
...the electronic body analyzer had been developed by Sandeman Industries in 1965, under a general government contract to produce body monitors for astronauts in space. It was understood by the government at that time that such a device, though expensive at a cost of $87,000 each, would eventually replace the human physician as a diagnostic instrument.