Columbus, OH,
20:44 PM

Columbus Dispatch: OhioHealth Patients Shop for Food Right at Doctor's Office

Food is Health Program Is Already Showing Positive Outcomes

In April, the physicians at OhioHealth Riverside Family Practice started something unique to the area. Their goal was to bring fresh fruits and vegetables to the doctor’s office, letting patients pick what they wanted, at no cost to them, to take home to use.

Working with OhioHealth Riverside Methodist Hospital President Brian Jepson, the family practice started to order fresh fruits and vegetables from distributors, including the Mid-Ohio Foodbank.

Each week, eligible diabetes patients, who have been screened for food insecurities and access issues, come in for a consultation with medical students, residents, and doctors at the practice to talk about food.

Once the patient arrives and meets with the team, they "shop" right there in the office, picking out fruits and vegetables.

The Food is Health program helps patients understand more about cooking, storing, preparation, shopping, and the importance of good foods not only for them but for their entire families.

For Dr. Laurie Hommema, who oversees the family practice, she says they learned so much about their patients and their health challenges, just by asking food questions.

“You’re in the room with a patient and you say ‘make sure you’re eating fruits and vegetables’ not realizing they, one, can’t afford it, and they, too, can’t find it; and, three, sometimes they can’t store it, and they don’t know what to do with it,” Dr. Hommema told JoAnne Viviano of The Columbus Dispatch.

About 50 patients are signed up for the program, and some are seeing some very positive results.

One patient, who spoke with the Columbus Dispatch says that the look and feel of her refrigerator and pantry at home have completely changed.

She says they have replaced rice, chips, candy, and bread, with fruits, vegetables, and recipes they didn't even know were possible.

Now, that patient has lost more than 30 pounds and tells the Dispatch she has more energy for work, and for her family.

The hope is to watch and monitor patients for six months to a year, and then see if this makes sense on a larger scale based on outcomes.

To read the entire story from The Columbus Dispatch, click the logo.