If a physician told you to start incorporating more physical activity into your routine or to start eating healthier, would you know where to start?
It’s a position some 34 million adults find themselves in every year.
“Generic advice doesn’t work,” says Brock Leonti, CEO of Prescribe FIT. “Telling someone to get healthier by exercising is not enough.”
Leonti’s right. A study from Duke University found that general advice like “get healthy,” “lose weight” or “eat better” was not as effective as a physician taking an empathetic approach and helping a patient find a program and stick with it.
That’s exactly the gap that Columbus-based Prescribe FIT wants to help close.
Prescribe FIT’s purpose is best articulated through the acronym PACE – Prescribe, Assess, Connect, Engage & Monitor.
Prescribe FIT works with physicians who prescribe their service. A patient, or a client as Prescribe FIT calls them, is then entered into the tech-enabled company’s dashboard. The client is notified, as well as Prescribe FIT’s exercise psychologist.
Prescribe FIT’s VP of Partnership Development Elisa Roberts RN is forging relationships with individual physicians offices to large health systems to get more doctors prescribing their service. Getting more exercise is often something doctors are already recommending, but working with their service puts actionable, accountable pathways to fulfilling that need.
Once prescribed, all new clients complete a health assessment and those metrics are used to develop a fitness plan around three areas: lifestyle, nutrition and physical activity. Based on the plan, a client is given goals that are evaluated for progress every three months.
Connecting their clients with fitness specialists to help them achieve those goals – to support them and hold them accountable – is at the core of what Prescribe FIT is all about. The company has developed a growing network of Prescribe FIT-approved fitness specialists and fitness facilities across the city.
“We want it to be accessible, we want them to be comfortable, we want it to be convenient for them,” Leonti says. “We don’t want there to virtually any reason why they shouldn’t keep participating in the service.”
Prescribe FIT is always looking to add trainers and gyms (they’re at a dozen and counting) to its network. There is an approval process for both. Leonti says they want to make sure a gym is clean, accessible and a place where people, many of whom might be transitioning from sedentary lifestyles, feel comfortable working out. Some facilities offer their own staff as Prescribe FIT trainers. Others allow independent fitness specialists to come into their facilities and work with Prescribe FIT clients.
Engage & Monitor
Prescribe FIT’s ‘Engage & Monitor’ focuses on a more high-level overview. A biometric collection is required every week, measuring blood pressure, heart rate, weight, hip and waist circumference. The biometrics and work towards a client’s goals are monitored through Prescribe FIT’s platform. Every 90 days, the prescribing physician also receives a report on the client’s progress for inclusion in their medical record.
The service incentivizes clients to stick with their new fitness routines by lowering their price per session every three months through the first year. Leonti says they don’t necessarily have to hit their goals to get the reduced price – they are more concerned with keeping people moving and in the program.
Prescribe FIT ran a pilot program to validate their methodology. Leonti says clients found results beyond just weight loss. Some saw lifestyle changes – actually incorporating exercise into their routines, others felt stronger, some did things they never thought they could, and others saw more mental acuteness and a reduction in anxiety and depression.
Those are exactly the kind of results the system is designed for, but there’s also a bigger picture at work. Leonti says on a large scale, they are driving down the cost of healthcare by reducing the prevalence of diseases like pre-diabetes, type 2 diabetes and hypertension.
Prescribe FIT is backed by the Grote family of Donatos notoriety. Fitness runs in the family, too, with Tony Capuano, grandson to founder Jim Grote, and son of chairwoman Jane Grote Abell, the owner of five local Snap Fitness franchises.
Capuano is Prescribe FIT’s VP of business strategy & lifestyle improvements. He connected with Leonti when he was using one of his gyms for personal training.
Work on what would become Prescribe FIT started in June of 2017 with a $150,000 angel investment from the Grote family. From April to October of 2018, Prescribe FIT raised a $900,000 seed round from private funds, including contributions from Jim Grote, Brett Kaufman, Annie Upper, and other undisclosed investor.
The company recently launched the platform that brings technology to the PACE process. The technology facilitates the initial assessment, sets and tracks goals and connects the triangle of support – the physician, lifestyle provider and fitness specialist.
Leonti says they’ll spend the rest of the year building out more robust features for the platform. A facet of the application – its function as a payment source and processing system for the fitness specialists – is the main way the company makes its money. Leonti says they are also looking at other revenue streams in which a which a larger health system would pay for their patients to use Prescribe FIT.
For more information, visit prescribefit.com.