An American College of Cardiology study supports lifestyle modification for diabetes management: “Type 2 diabetes is a costly chronic illness that is increasing in prevalence and associated with significant health problems, including cardiovascular disease. Diabetes-related care accounts for more than $1 of every $5 spent on healthcare in the United States. Not surprisingly, average medical expenses are more than twice as high for a person with diabetes as they are for a person without diabetes.” 4
Says Sasha Kuprion, Strategy Director for IngenioRx product development, “The philosophy behind the [MealAdvisor] program is that making small changes can add up to big results over time. We hope members can use this app to identify where they can make small changes in their routine to see improvements in their blood sugar levels, their weight, their overall health, and their overall sense of well-being.”
MealAdvisor Pilot Overview
IngenioRx is conducting the MealAdvisor pilot in collaboration with Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield, our largest client. Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield Commercial group members who have type 2 diabetes, take antidiabetic medication such as Metformin, and have a history of digital engagement were invited to opt-in to the pilot. Participants downloaded the app, then completed and returned self-administered A1C test kits. IngenioRx records test kit data to compare the participants’ A1C levels before and after the pilot. We encourage participants to use the app’s tools, including a meal planning assistant, smart shopping lists, and prescription refill reminders. To help members eat healthier foods, they’re sent low-glycemic recipes created by our partner Good Measures, such as:
"The philosophy behind the [MealAdvisor] program is that making small changes can add up to big results over time."
To successfully deliver food to pilot participants, IngenioRx has partnered with Instacart, Kroger, and Walmart. The MealAdvisor app can automatically place recommended food choices into a virtual cart for purchase. To help members track their weight, food intake, and physical activity, the app also integrates with health-tracking platforms such as Google Fit and Apple Health. A team of registered dietitians is readily available to answer members’ questions or help them make the right food choices. At the end of the pilot, members receive a final A1C test kit and member satisfaction survey. Three $30 Amazon gift cards are sent to members as incentives when they hit milestones, such as returning their first A1C test kit, engaging weekly with the mobile app, returning the final A1C test kit, and completing the member satisfaction survey.
Pilot Findings will Benefit Members, Providers, and Payers
Although the MealAdvisor pilot is for people with type 2 diabetes, IngenioRx hopes to expand its reach to help members with heart, mental health, or behavioral health issues. The pharmacy benefit manager aspires to offer the MealAdvisor program to Medicare and Medicaid members, plus a larger number of Commercial participants, by 2023.
“We really want providers to help educate and promote the benefits of the program, and help members get engaged,” says Kuprion. “We’ll consider the pilot a success if people engage with the mobile app on a regular basis to do their weekly meal planning and grocery shopping, as well as take their medications as prescribed.”
“We’ll consider the pilot a success if people engage with the mobile app on a regular basis to do their weekly meal planning and grocery shopping, as well as take their medications as prescribed.”
1 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Diabetes Fast Facts (June 11, 2020) cdc.gov.
2 Internal IngenioRx data, 2021.
3 American Diabetes Association, Understanding A1CC (accessed May 2021); diabetes.org.
4 Hena N. Patel, MD, Andrew M. Freeman, MD, and Kim A. Williams, MD. Diabetes: An Opportunity to Have a Lasting Impact on Health Through Lifestyle Modification, American Journal of Managed Care, March 2017.