Good Measures delivers Good Food Prescriptions via Instacart

The news: Digital health company Good Measures launched the Good Food Prescription program for health plans and employers, which generates personalized meal plans suited to an individual users’ health profile and food preferences. The company plans to roll out the program to other Medicaid, Medicare, commercial health plans, and employer groups in early 2023.

How Good Food Prescription works: Good Measures’ focus on personalized meal plans is key to getting participants to start and then stay with the program.

  • Participants receive virtual one-on-one coaching sessions with registered dietitians to reinforce long-term behavior change.
  • Good Measures’ technology generates shopping lists that are fulfilled and delivered by Instacart via its Care Carts technology.
  • WellCare of Kentucky, a Centene Corp. subsidiary and provider of Medicare and Medicaid plans, is testing the program with Medicaid patients diagnosed with hypertension.

What’s driving this trend? A combination of factors is bringing together healthcare providers, insurers, food retailers, biotech firms, and investors around the idea that food and nutrition can improve health and wellness. Chief among them is the continuing shift to value-based care, which incentivizes providers to support healthy outcomes for their patients and members. That’s created a growing focus on social determinants of health, one of which is food insecurity.

  • Food retailers such as Kroger and Walmart have implemented their own food-as-medicine programs that include food donations to community health organizations and in-store efforts like shelf tags and app-based nutritional scoring systems to direct shoppers to healthy food choices.
  • Online grocery player Instacart launched Instacart Health in September, then announced tie-ups with primary care provider ChenMed, insurtech The Helper Bees, and medtech company Levels Health.
  • On the medicine front, startups like Brightseed, Kallyope, and Faeth Therapuetics are using AI and other systems to find natural or plant-based elements to develop foods or supplements to combat cancer, control glucose, or help with weight loss, per the Wall Street Journal.

The yin and the yang: While health systems are signing on to prescribe personalized nutrition services to patients, coverage or reimbursement is still uncertain for many. Most Medicare and Medicaid programs cover medically tailored meals for seriously ill members, but coverage to prevent or delay onset of a chronic condition or treat ones like depression is limited.

Nutrition startup Season Health, which offers meal delivery personalized by dietitians and chefs, announced partnerships with Geisinger (which operates its own Food Farmacy), CommonSpirit Health, and Cricket Health in February 2022.

Its services aren’t covered by insurance and a one-month subscription costs $75—but that could be changing. The White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition and Health recommended a pilot program to cover medically tailored meals as part of Medicare Advantage plans in September—not just for the seriously ill.

Our prediction: The food as medicine movement will gain even more adherents in 2023, from health systems and health plans to food retailers. Digital health companies will have a central role in facilitating sign-ups, healthy eating plans, shopping lists, and home deliveries. One may even come up with a way to make kale more palatable.

This article originally appeared in Insider Intelligence's Digital Health Briefing—a daily recap of top stories reshaping the healthcare industry. Subscribe to have more hard-hitting takeaways delivered to your inbox daily.