Fruit Street's Telehealth Software Presented by the Centers

|Apr 20|magazine19 min read

NEW YORK, April 20, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Fruit Street Health has been recently presented by the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) as a telehealth software tool for all 1,543 organizations in the CDC's Diabetes Prevention Recognition Program (DPRP) to transition the delivery of their in-person diabetes prevention program (DPP) into an online distance learning delivery model during the COVID-19 pandemic. Fruit Street's software enables the delivery of the DPP via telehealth and live group video conferencing. Lifestyle coaches can monitor the diet, exercise, and health of participants using wireless scales, Fitbit, and the Fruit Street mobile application for dietary monitoring.

These CDC-recognized organizations deliver a 12-month lifestyle modification program that is designed to help individuals with prediabetes reduce their risk for developing Type 2 diabetes by as much as 58 percent. The program consists of at least 22 group classes with a lifestyle coach covering topics such as diet, exercise, sleep and stress management.

Medicare has been reimbursing in-person programs for the delivery of the CDC's DPP since 2018. Currently DPPs cannot be delivered in-person since individuals over the age of 65 have a higher mortality risk if they contract COVID-19. For this reason, Medicare released an Interim Final Rule which stated the following:

"Through this IFC, we are amending the Medicare Diabetes Prevention Program (MDPP) expanded model to modify certain MDPP policies during the PHE. Specifically, this IFC will permit certain beneficiaries to obtain the set of MDPP services more than once per lifetime, increase the number of virtual make-up sessions, and allow certain MDPP suppliers to deliver virtual MDPP sessions on a temporary basis. These changes are in response to COVID-19, which resulted in an interruption to expanded model services delivered by MDPP suppliers and/or prevented MDPP beneficiaries from attending sessions. Throughout the rulemaking for the MDPP expanded model, we sought to ensure that the MDPP set of services would be delivered in-person, in a classroom-based setting, within an established timeline. At the time, the priority was placed on establishing a structured service that, when delivered within the confines of the rule, would create the least risk of fraud and abuse, increase the likelihood of success, and maintain the integrity of the data collected for evaluation purposes. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has led to suspension of in-person class sessions and guidance from CDC that Medicare-age beneficiaries stay home. In response, we will implement provisions that allow for temporary flexibilities that prioritize availability and continuity of services for MDPP suppliers and MDPP beneficiaries impacted by extreme and uncontrollable circumstances during the COVID-19 PHE...The CDC issued guidance to all National Diabetes Prevention Program suppliers on or about March 12, 2020, providing alternative delivery options during the COVID-19 national emergency, including encouraging organizations to use virtual make-up sessions as necessary, regardless of usual delivery mode; if virtual make-up sessions are not possible, organizations may pause offering classes." (https://www.cms.gov/files/document/covid-final-ifc.pdf)

"We are pleased to announce that our software is now available free of charge to all of the diabetes prevention programs that participate in the CDC's Diabetes Prevention Recognition Program. Our software will enable these prevention programs to conduct HIPAA compliant group video consultations with program participants, monitor weight and physical activity using wireless scale and Fitbit devices, provide feedback to participants through pictures of food they take in our app, and report all of this data to the CDC with a single report mechanism. It is our honor that the CDC has presented Fruit Street as an option for diabetes prevention programs to offer their program online in order to assist Americans during the COVID-19 pandemic," said Laurence Girard, founder and CEO of Fruit Street.

Fruit Street Health participates in the CDC's Diabetes Prevention Recognition Program which requires diabetes prevention programs to report their outcomes data to the CDC every six months. After the CDC reviewed Fruit Street's clinical outcomes data, the company achieved the highest possible outcomes rating from the CDC referred to as Full Recognition. In order to gain full CDC recognition, diabetes prevention programs must meet rigorous CDC standards and report its outcomes to the CDC every six months. These requirements include participants achieving at least 5% average weight loss when participating for 9 months, 35% of participants qualifying for the program based on a blood test, and achieving minimum levels of participant attendance and engagement. Fruit Street currently provides its diabetes prevention program to large self-insured employers and health plans who want to reduce their healthcare costs by preventing Type 2 diabetes. The company also works with physicians who refer their patients and consumers who are interested in signing up for the program to improve their health. Fruit Street's delivery model is unique in that it was the first diabetes prevention program to be delivered via live group video conferencing that also achieved Full Recognition with the CDC.

Fruit Street addresses the limitations and barriers of physical class attendance by allowing patients to attend their DPP classes via group telehealth video calls, which eliminates both the cost and wasted travel time of commuting to a physical class. In the Fruit Street DPP delivery model, a registered dietitian conducts these classes via group video where all of the patients can see and speak to one another. In addition, each patient is issued a Fitbit, wireless scale, and the Fruit Street mobile application which allows them to take pictures of their food and receive feedback from their lifestyle coach. The wireless scale records the weight of the patients throughout the DPP and the Fitbit both encourages a healthy lifestyle and transmits exercise data back to the registered dietitian in HIPAA compliant, HITRUST certified, and SOC2 compliant software.

Girard explained, "Fruit Street is a public-benefit corporation, which is a type of corporation that allows for public benefit to be a charter purpose in addition to the traditional corporate goal of maximizing value for shareholders. We are happy to help the country during this national crisis by offering our software for free. It is clear that the CDC believes in the telehealth model of diabetes prevention program delivery via live group video conferencing. We hope this will encourage Medicare to finally pay for diabetes prevention programs delivered via telehealth and live group video conferencing instead of only paying for in-person programs. This is what Americans need during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond in order to receive the care that they need. We should not wait for a global pandemic to fix our healthcare system with digital delivery methods that are more convenient for patients. We must fix our healthcare system now by utilizing these digital care delivery methods. We need to shift from a reactive healthcare system focused on treatment, to a prevention focused healthcare system delivered via digital methods at the home of patients. This is what our country and healthcare system desperately needs".

About Fruit Street:
Fruit Street (www.FruitStreet.com) is a physician-funded telehealth company that offers the only online diabetes prevention program (DPP) fully-recognized by the CDC, delivered via HIPPA-compliant live group video, increasing access to treatment and prevention for millions of Americans with, or at risk for, prediabetes. Fruit Street's program is proven to help people lose at least 5-7% of their body weight which can reverse the progression of disease, reduce personal health care costs and reduce the risk for heart disease and other chronic conditions.  Fruit Street takes a more holistic approach to diabetes prevention, offering people a comprehensive weight loss plan which includes personalized attention and unlimited messaging with Registered Dietitians (RDs), a free wireless scale and Fitbit Activity Tracker™ to track progress. Founded in 2014 as a public benefit corporation, Fruit Street has raised more than $20 million in capital from more than 300 health care professionals (HCP) who are dedicated to making a lasting social impact in healthcare. The company also offers a telehealth software for HCPs to conduct telehealth with patients in their practice and will soon launch a national telemedicine solution to address the COVID-19 pandemic.

Contact: Fruit Street Health, [email protected]

 

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SOURCE Fruit Street Health