Thoughts on Running a Successful Telehealth Diabetes Prevention Program

  1. Hiring Amazing Dietitians — We’ve now hired hundreds of dietitians to provide our diabetes prevention program and these coaches are located all throughout the United States. We have an extensive vetting process for our dietitians, but also train them all in motivational interviewing and provide them all with the lifestyle coach training that the CDC requires. Our coaches have great personalities and are particularly talented at motivating people to reach their health goals. Our dietitians truly have a desire to have a social impact on healthcare and deliver great outcomes to patients.
  2. Listen to Your Patients Feedback — As we have built our our software platform, we have listened to feedback from patients regarding what they want to see in the software platform. One of the things we heard from patients was that they did not enjoy using calorie databases like Fitbit or MyFitnessPal because there were too many steps involved in logging their calories and in many cases the food they were eating was not even in these calorie databases. It was this discovery that led us to the decision to build a mobile app that allowed participants to take a simple photo of their food to receive feedback from their dietitian. To date, we have had hundreds of thousands of photos of food taken by participants. We also added a feature that allowed participants to track how many servings of fruits and vegetables they have eaten per day instead of putting so much focus on tracking calories.
  3. Choose investors who care about social impact — At Fruit Street, we are a public benefit corporation which means we are a special type of for-profit corporation that also seeks to have a social impact. Instead of working with venture capital firms, we decided to have more than 500 physicians invest over $20 million into the company. These physicians have been a valuable source of feedback as we have developed our products.
  4. Hire Great Product Developers & Software Engineers — Every digital health company needs to have great software which means great design and stable code. You can have a well designed product, but if it is not engineered well then your users will experience bugs and your system may not be able to scale with more users. At Fruit Street, we now have an amazing team of more than 35 engineers, designers, and software professionals that are doing an amazing job building the company.

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Laurence Girard

Laurence Girard

CEO & Founder at Fruit Street Health