NourishedRx Launches Food Benefits Platform Powered by Google Cloud

Digital healthcare company NourishedRx announced Monday that it has launched a new food benefits management platform on Google Cloud, allowing it to bring personalized nutrition support to health plans’ members.

Stamford, Connecticut-based NourishedRx is a food-as-medicine company that offers dietary assistance for health plans’ members through methods like medically-tailored meals, grocery support and diet education. Its customers include Humana and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota. It also has several food partners — such as Instacart and local kitchens — in order to offer its services. 

NourishedRx’s platform uses the Google Healthcare API, which allows for an exchange of data and information between the company and its food partners, its health plan customers and the members. Health plans are able to share information on its members, like their diagnoses and where they live, and NourishedRx is able to provide information back on the services it can provide. Members can communicate with the company through the app and provide information on their preferences and goals, and the company can share the foods they’ll be receiving and nutrition education. Food partners, meanwhile, can provide what their weekly menu is and the company can then place orders with them.

“We have bi-directional connection with those three stakeholders,” said Lauren Driscoll, NourishedRx CEO, in an interview. “We’re able to collect data from all three stakeholders. That’s very powerful in terms of being able to really customize food solutions, not only the actual food and the format of the food, but also what education the individual needs.”

For example, a health plan may be able to provide insight on a pregnant mother living in Minneapolis in a household of four people. That member can communicate with NourishedRx and explain that she prefers Somali food, in which case the company can partner with a local Somali kitchen to meet her needs.

“We are able to work with the local Somali kitchen, our registered dieticians have worked with them to adapt the recipes,” Driscoll said. “As you can imagine, less sodium is really key and she really can’t stand eggplant because it makes her lips numb. So we have made a point of making sure that the meals delivered to her from the Somali kitchen don’t have eggplant in them. Then we’re also providing groceries that are shelf stable, as well fresh produce, which is sourced from a local [community supported agriculture] for the rest of the household.”

The benefit of having a platform on Google Cloud is being able to provide personalized nutrition to a large group of people, Driscoll added. 

“For centuries, people have been trying to deal with hunger and trying to get healthy food to people, but to do it at scale at a price point that works, you really need the technology to facilitate that and to optimize personalization,” she said.

NourishedRx has four different products for members. The first is a chronic disease nutrition program, where it provides food and educational services and connects members with community-based services. It also has a health equity program in partnership with Medicaid plans, in which the company focuses on nutrition related to pregnancy. The third product is a food benefit manager, where NourishedRx works with the health plan on their existing benefits and helps them optimize those benefits. Lastly, the company offers a product called A Healthy Dose Delivered. This is in partnership with aging-in-place marketplace healthAlign, and offers members a monthly bundle of food (such as prepared meals, meal kits or grocery items) delivered to their homes.

Other food and nutrition companies include Season Health, FarmBox Foods and Epicured.

Photo: vgajic, Getty Images