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Chicago’s Food Rx provides prescription for healthy eating

BY Rob Eder

CHICAGO — The University of Chicago Medicine and Walgreens are teaming up to launch a "Food Rx" initiative that will help people with diabetes improve their eating habits by overcoming two major hurdles when shopping for food: access and affordability, the groups announced Aug. 15.

As part of the Improving Diabetes Care and Outcomes on the South Side of Chicago, a project based at the University of Chicago Medicine, diabetes patients who visit 1-of-6 South Side clinics can receive a prescription-like checklist of their doctors’ food recommendations and a coupon for $5 off $20 worth of healthy food at participating Walgreens locations. Patients also can get a $3 voucher for the weekly 61st Street Farmers Market in the Woodlawn neighborhood.

"The factors driving the diabetes prevalence rate on the South Side are multifaceted, and addressing them requires a comprehensive, nuanced approach," stated Monica Peek, lead on the Food Rx initiative and associate director of the Chicago Center for Diabetes Translation Research. "Many of the patients we see have challenges accessing and preparing healthy food. Through continued education and initiatives like this one, we’re working to chip away at the obstacles and alter behaviors."

The Food Rx initiative builds on the Improving Diabetes Care and Outcomes on the South Side of Chicago interventions already under way, including patient education, grocery store tours, tools for healthcare providers, improvements to clinic systems and relationships with community organizations such as food pantries.

Food Rx organizers reported that the participating clinics are natural collaborators in this effort because they already serve the target population, and Walgreens has made a commitment to provide greater access to fresh fruits and vegetables, low-fat dairy products and whole grains in food desert communities.

These types of partnerships do more than just create a halo effect for Walgreens — they have a potential to make a real impact on patient outcomes.

According to the Institute for Alternative Futures’ diabetes model estimates for the Chicago metropolitan statistical area, people living with diabetes (both diagnosed and undiagnosed) will increase by 46% by 2025 to 1.7 million people from a 2010 base of 1.1 million. The resulting medical and societal cost of diabetes will be $15.9 billion, a 54% increase from 2010.

Here is how the IAF projections break down across the Chicago MSA:

  • Number of people with prediabetes in 2010 totaled 2.5 million; in 2025, that will reach 2.6 million;
  • Diagnosed diabetes cases in 2010 totaled 711,800; in 2025, that will reach 1.2 million;
  • Undiagnosed diabetes cases in 2010 totaled 420,800; in 2025, that will reach 449,100;
  • Visual impairment associated with diabetes totaled 128,800 in 2010; in 2025, that will reach 207,300; and
  • Annual deaths attributable to diabetes totaled 10,340 in 2010; in 2025, that will reach 13,740.

"If 50% of people with prediabetes successfully made these lifestyle changes, [including modest weight loss and increase in regular physical activity], it could reduce the number of new cases of diabetes in the Chicago MSA by about 10,400 a year," the IAF said. "Between [2010] and 2025, that would be a reduction of about 135,600 people with diabetes with a cumulative savings of about $8.6 billion."

IAF continued: "Halting the ‘twin epidemics’ of diabetes and obesity will require fundamental change in all segments of society, including greater access to opportunities for physical activity in our schools, workplaces and communities, and a signficant shift in the American diet away from sugar, salt, refined carbohydrates and saturated fats and toward more fruits and vegetables."

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Software developer pilots health app prescription system

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK — A company that provides an online store and management system for mobile health apps is piloting a program that allows physicians and other health practitioners to electronically prescribe medical, health and fitness apps for patients.

Happtique announced the pilot program of mRx, which it said was designed to improve practitioner-patient communication, patient engagement, adherence and health. The pilot will focus on physical therapy, fitness training, bone health, diabetes, arthritis and heart health, for which the company has consulted a specialist in each field and reviewed various websites to develop a sample liftoff apps for each of the targeted areas. Practitioners can prescribe apps from the sample list or other apps of their choice.

"Given the tens of thousands of medical, health and fitness apps on the market today, patients need guidance from healthcare professionals as they select and use these apps to manage their health," Happtique CEO Ben Chodor said. "We also firmly believe that app prescribing will prove an effective tool for facilitating positive patient behavior change, which will foster self-management and monitoring and ultimately result in improved health outcomes and lowered healthcare costs."

The app will include a catalog of apps that practitioners can prescribe, a patient directory and an electronic prescription form.


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Study: Discounts as low as 2.5% sway shoppers to leave stores, purchase online

BY Antoinette Alexander

ST. LOUIS — Forty-five percent of customers shopping in-store at brick-and mortar-locations will walk out and complete their purchase online for a discount as low as 2.5%, according to new showrooming research from GroupM Next.

This number jumps to 60% of shoppers who will leave and purchase a product online for a savings of 5%. When discovering an online discount of 20%, a small percentage of shoppers (13%) stay and complete their purchase in store.


“Consumers have shifted their path to purchase to include the store as a step but not necessarily the final step, and this will likely continue to increase over time. Brands need to think about how showrooming can be used to their advantage to navigate would-be buyers to a checkout location, be it in store or online,” stated GroupM Next CEO Chris Copeland. “Showrooming is a label for a massive consumer behavior shift brought about by the ease of access to information on a mobile device.  Brands that sit on either side, be it as the physical store or the online merchant, have multiple opportunities with this consumer change.” 



Showrooming defines a significant shift in consumer behavior impacting the health of both brick-and-mortar stores and e-commerce retailers. It is the new habit of consumers conducting price comparisons on a mobile device while in store, leaving the store and completing their purchase online. 
 
 

The study “Showrooming & The Price Of Keeping Buyers In-Store” was conducted to take a close look at the influencing factors of showrooming and to identify the tipping point at which the difference between an in-store and online price is large enough to lure shoppers out of stores. With such insights into this new trend – one that is likely here to staybrands can better target this segment of shoppers and capture their business online or at the checkout counter, according to GroupM Next.
 


For this study, 1,000 shoppers in the United States were surveyed and presented with multiple hypothetical showrooming scenarios for 10 products at varying price points spanning multiple retail categories. Data highlights, as reported in the whitepaper on the research, include: 


  • 44% of consumers use a mobile device to influence their purchase decision when shopping in-store;
  • If the price difference in-store versus online is more than $5 most customers will leave;
  • The average showroomer profile includes females who are younger in age and make frequent online purchases; Alternately, the profile of the shopper who can be most swayed to stay and complete a purchase in store is older male, 55% of whom buy online one time per month
  • Customers who interact with an associate are 12.5% more likely to purchase in-store.

 “Finding only a small price difference elsewhere using a mobile device is enough to entice a shopper to leave the store and buy online. By employing strategies to reach this massive audience segment, brands can significantly bolster their sales at the register or take advantage of their showrooming and effectively get the sale via a branded app or online property,” noted GroupM Next director of research Patrick  Monteleone. “However, nearly 10% of purchasers we surveyed chose to complete their purchase in store, no matter the price discount offered. The key for marketers is to identify the next 10%: the group of customers that are sensitive to price but can be swayed to stay in-store.” 

 

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