August 2nd, 2017 (New York, New York) – Fruit Street Health, a digital health and telehealth startup focused on delivering the CDC’s Diabetes Prevention Program and other chronic disease prevention programs, has raised an additional $3 million since its last funding announcement in MedCity News a year ago on June 1st, 2016. This additional $3 million of equity capital, which brings Fruit Street’s total funding to $8.4 million, has come exclusively from physician investors and brings the total number of physicians who have invested in Fruit Street to over 200. The lead investor was Dr. Jeremy Tucker who is a senior emergency medicine physician on the board of directors of Fruit Street.

Fruit Street’s digital health platform enables healthcare providers such as physicians and registered dietitians to conduct HIPAA compliant video consultations with their patients and also monitor their health, diet, and lifestyle using medical devices, wearable devices, and the Fruit Street mobile application for dietary tracking. Devices such as wireless scales, Fitbit trackers, blood pressure cuffs, and glucometers are integrated into the platform. The Fruit Street “Instagram style” mobile app encourages patients to take photos of their food which are transmitted to their dietitians for feedback. Fruit Street licenses its digital health platform to healthcare providers, but also uses its digital health platform to deliver the Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP) to commercial health plan members using its own staff of registered dietitians. The National DPP is an evidence-based lifestyle change program which has been demonstrated to delay or prevent the development of type 2 diabetes among people at high risk.

Fruit Street has joined the Solera Health network of community and virtual DPP providers to access members referred to DPPs through Solera’s contracts with health plans and employers that offer the DPP as a covered medical benefit. Solera Health, a preventive care benefits manager, matches consumers with the “best fit” DPP provider and assists with enrollment, reporting and claim submissions. Fruit Street will become the first telehealth DPP provider in Solera’s network.

The DPP, conducted by the Diabetes Prevention Program Research Group, was a major multicenter clinical research study published in 2002 with 3,234 participants who were overweight and had prediabetes, aimed at discovering whether modest weight loss through dietary changes and increased physical activity or treatment with the oral diabetes drug metformin (Glucophase) was more effective at preventing or delaying type 2 diabetes. The DPP showed that people at risk for developing diabetes can prevent or delay the onset of diabetes by losing a modest amount of weight through diet and exercise. DPP participants in the lifestyle intervention group reduced their risk of developing diabetes by 58 percent during the study. Lifestyle changes worked particularly well for participants aged 60 and older, reducing their risk by 71 percent. Participants taking metformin reduced their risk of developing diabetes by 31 percent which was less dramatic than the lifestyle modification group. The researchers published their findings in the February 7, 2002, issue of the New England Journal of Medicine (“Reduction in the Incidence of Type 2 Diabetes with Lifestyle Intervention or Metformin”).

The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) cited a savings of $2,650 per DPP participant who attended four sessions. The average health plan cost for a diabetic member is $11,700 and the cost for a non-diabetic member is $7,300 lower at $4,400. Some health plans have experienced a per member per month cost decrease of 20% for patients who completed the program with at least five percent weight loss.

Fruit Street has raised this additional capital to fund additional software development through its joint venture agreement with and to hire more dietitians to deliver the diabetes prevention program to commercial health plans.

Fruit Street’s CEO Laurence Girard explained that Fruit Street is funded by a “grassroots movement of physician investors” who want to prevent lifestyle related diseases using technology. Girard recently authored a Huffington Post article titled “7 Reasons a Healthcare Software Startup Should Be Funded by Physicians, Not VCs.”

About Fruit Street

Fruit Street has raised more than $8.4M in funding from 200 physician investors who believe in the powerful combination of lifestyle modification and technology to prevent chronic diseases such as diabetes. The company is also a public benefit corporation whose social mission is to “Prevent and treat lifestyle related disease using telemedicine, wearable devices, and mobile applications.”

Laurence Girard
CEO & Founder 
85 Broad Street, 18th Floor
New York, New York, 10004