Foods and Healthy Eating Analysis

Foods and Healthy Eating Analysis

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 Food as Medicine: Healthcare Marketing Plan


Ronald Foy

Shawn Dickey

Ibrahim Alissa



King’s College

HCA 571: Healthcare Marketing and Branding

Michelle M. McGowan, DBA, CPA


Statement of Purpose

The goal of this marketing campaign is to increase community awareness of the efforts of the Geisinger Fresh Food Farmacy and the goal of utilizing food as medicine in an effort to network with providers and other community resources to address needs within the organizational effort.


Social Issue, Background, and Focus

In the United States, there are approximately 40 million individuals (6.5 million children) who suffer from food insecurity. Food insecurity is defined as “a household-level economic and social condition of limited or uncertain access to adequate food.” Food insecurity does not mean that there is always a lack of food, but instead, a lack of good food.  Specifically, the issue this plan seeks to address is the use of food as medicine in the treatment of Type 2 Diabetes. According to recent statistics, by 2030, 54.9 million will be diagnosed with diabetes.

In Luzerne and Lackawanna county, there is a higher rate of obesity-linked diseases than there are in the entire state of Pennsylvania. More specifically, The Institute for Public Policy & Economic Development list: heart attacks, coronary heart disease, ischemic heart disease, and diabetes. For each of these obesity-linked diseases, Luzerne has 32.5, 129.4, 122.1, and 31.2 deaths per 100,000 people respectively; Lackawanna has 36.3, 115, 106.5, and 27.6 deaths per 100,000 people respectively as well. When adding Wyoming county into the mix, the adult obesity rate is 30%, which is one percent lower than that of the statewide rate. These three counties also have the same statewide average of residents that consume at least five servings of fruits and/or vegetables a day; this average is less than one in four residents. With this mix of obesity-linked diseases and poor daily consumption of fruits and vegetables, the population of Luzerne, Lackawanna, and Wyoming counties are almost as likely to have experienced a heart attack, heart disease, stroke (14% counties to 13% statewide), told they have diabetes (11% to 11%), or told they are in poor or fair general health (18% to 17%) as the entire population of Pennsylvania. (Institute citation)

In 2018, Luzerne and Lackawanna county were ranked 60th and 54th out of 67 counties when it came to health outcomes which included length and quality of life. According to County Health Rankings & Roadmaps, Luzerne and Lackawanna had 17% and 14% of their population in poor health respectively. These two counties also ranked 56th and 40th, respectively, out of 67 counties when it came to health factors. County Health Rankings & Roadmaps lists adult smoking and obesity, physical inactivity, clinical care, and socioeconomic and environmental factors as some of these health factors (County Health Rankings & Roadmaps).

It is difficult for residents in these areas to try and manage their chronic diseases because of a lack of access to fresh food options. The Institute for Public Policy & Economic Development defines low access as “more than one mile from a grocery store in urban areas and more than 10 miles in rural areas.” In Luzerne county, per 10,000 residents, there are 2.9 fresh food outlets and 9.2 convenience food outlets.  This results in a 3.1 ratio of convenience to fresh options. According to The Institute for Public Policy & Economic Development, this area also encompasses five food deserts. They also state that 15.8% of the population has low access to these healthy and fresh options while 1.9% has low access as well as no car.  In Lackawanna county there is, per 10,000 residents, 3.5 fresh food outlets and 9.5 convenience food outlets leaving a 2.7 ratio of convenience to fresh options. With three food deserts, 12.8% of the population has low access to fresh food options while 1.6% has low access and no car. The state average per 10,000 residents is 8.4 convenience to 2.9 fresh food options with a 2.9 ratio respectively. (Institute citation) Foods and Healthy Eating Analysis

Intended Impact

The intended impact of this campaign is to connect individuals in the community with the proper resources to diagnose and manage food-insecurity in an effort to reduce the complications associated with diabetes and build valid evidence for the idea of using food as medicine.

Campaign Focus

The focus of this campaign is to raise awareness of what the Fresh Food Farmacy does and the Food as Medicine initiative. Through community education, the hope is that there will be exposure to area non-Geisinger care providers and local community groups in an effort to expand accessibility and operational capacities within the Farmacy, as well as increase awareness for the cause and expand the possibilities for referrals.

  • Healthcare Providers
    • Increased knowledge of the endeavour. Authors of this paper working for secondary care providers who encounter a high incidence of patients suffering from complications associated with advanced type 2 diabetes were unaware of the existence of the Geisinger Fresh Food Farmacy as a supplemental resource to these health issues. Therefore, a portion of this marketing strategy will be to design a similar process to the “open house” tour of the facility in an effort to allow providers to see first hand what is being done. Through this process, providers may also have access to statistical data relevant to success and failures of the program so that they may observe and decide if this resource would be beneficial for their patients. It is the initial hope that approximately one day per month be noted as an “open house” day, most likely after normal business hours of the facility, to allow these events to occur.
    • Increased awareness of supplemental resources for treatments. It is also noted that, through research, there are many instances where administration of treatment does not do much to increase positive health outcomes. Through this plan, it is intended for providers to refer patients to this resource as a supplement to their already established treatment programs in an effort to increase the positive effects of these treatment regiments.
    • Networking and expansion of data results. It is noted that one organizational effort of the Geisinger Fresh Food Farmacy, as well as other programs of similar design is to perform research and gather evidence to support the idea of food being used in a medicinal manner. Through networking with more local physicians, there is an expanded ability to gather more information on how efforts are working to treat the entire sphere of diabetes related problems
  • Community Organizations
    • Increased community awareness to organizational efforts. Many community organizations (e.g. Lions Clubs) have a yearly obligation to engage in some sort of awareness event regarding a variety of community “wicked problems.” Utilizing similar ideas to the open house idea for providers, a similar event could be used to allow these, mainly volunteer organizations in the door to learn what the organization does. Through this, the community may grow to be more informed as to these resources. It is not uncommon for individuals in need to reach out to these groups for help, and, if they have the knowledge of the resources available, the groups may be able to connect those who approach them with the proper resources to get applicable help from the Farmacy.
    • Potential access to volunteer assistance. These community volunteer groups often can offer assistance if any is needed. By targeting these groups and presenting them with issues the organization encounters, they may be able to offer assistance. With this, it would be possible to address the organization weakness of transportation, especially if these organizations have individuals who are willing to assist with transportation of patients, shipments from food supply centers, and even future expansion of


Situational Analysis

Organizational Strengths

Screening Process. One strength of Geisinger’s Fresh Food Farmacy is the process they use to screen patients that can be subscribed to the pharmacy. First, patients who have trouble controlling their A1c levels that have type 2 diabetes are considered to begin with. Patients with A1c levels of greater than or equal to 8 were the main targets. Geisinger then uses two questions that screens patients for food insecurity. If patients answer yes to one or both they are enrolled. The two questions are: “within the past twelve months I worried whether our food would run out before we got money to buy more” and “within the past twelve months the food I bought did not last and we did not have money to buy more.” Out of 458 patients that were screened they found that 128 of them were eligible for enrollment into the pharmacy (Feinberg, Hess, Passaretti, Coolbaugh, & Lee, 2018).

Emerging pilot results Geisinger can track results of their pilot test of the Fresh Food Farmacy because many of those enrolled are insured by Geisinger. The article, Prescribing food as a specialty drug, states that in the pilot test there are 37 patients that are insured by the parent company. They measure the savings by health care spending for those enrolled. The data shows there is an 80% drop in spending of those enrolled. Per member, the Fresh Food Farmacy has shown a drop in health care spending from $240,000 to $48,000. The authors do point out that this is a small sample, but by screening the correct patients they can find those sick enough that want to spur change in their diets. With these savings per patient and an operation cost of roughly $2,400 per enrollee, the pharmacy can help these sick patients while also cutting costs in health care spending for Geisinger and even other health insurance companies (Feinberg, Hess, Passaretti, Coolbaugh, & Lee, 2018).

Educational classes When patients are enrolled into the Fresh Food Farmacy they are given enough fresh fruits, vegetables, proteins and whole grains to feed each enrollee and their entire household. Each week this fresh food is given in enough proportions for ten meals a week for the household as well as health recipes and even menus. By giving them these recipes and menus they are teaching these families how to properly use ingredients and prepare meals. Patients are required to go to 15 hours of classes that teach them the basics of their type 2 diabetes. The idea behind this is if they know exactly what this disease does to their body they can learn how to take care of themselves and their disease in a healthy non-prescription drug manor. Care teams are also provided to those that are enrolled into the pharmacy. Enrollees can see a dietitian, a primary care doctor, a health coach and more. The pharmacy offers this so patients can support their new healthy lifestyle and continue to live healthy, eventually graduating from the Fresh Food Farmacy (Feinberg, Hess, Passaretti, Coolbaugh, & Lee, 2018).  Foods and Healthy Eating Analysis

Organizational Weaknesses

Transportation One weakness the Geisinger Fresh Food Farmacy has in the lack of transportation in areas where pharmacies are located. Some patients live far enough away that walking or even public transportation is not possible. If public transportation is an option, carrying a weeks full of groceries onto a bus or train may be a hassle and therefore a barrier that prevents someone from enrolling or following through in the program.    

  • Transportation – Patient’s transportation?

Environmental Opportunities

  • Increasing consumer interest in local foods, and in healthy eating

Environmental Threats

  • Sustainability- grants, philanthropic donations, correct food donation


Low access-  more than one mile from a grocery store in urban areas and more than 10 miles in rural areas


2.9 fresh food outlets per 10,000 residents

9.2 convenience food outlets per 10,000

5 food deserts

Low access to grocery store by population- 15.8% (50,063)

Children 15.9% (9,939)

No car and low access 1.9% (2,790)


3.5 fresh food outlets per 10,000

9.5 convenience food outlets per 10,000

3 food deserts

Low access to grocery store by population- 12.8% (27,069)

Children 13.5% (5,747)

No car and low access 1.6% (1,542)



2.9 fresh food outlets per 10,000

8.4 convenience food outlets per 10,000


  1. Background

(Healthy food: environments, access and literacy article)

    1. Lackawanna & Luzerne county
      1. higher in obesity-linked diseases compared to PA as a whole
        1. Rate of death from diabetes
      2. Lackawanna = 54th Luzerne = 60th out of 67 PA counties in measures of health outcomes (quality/length of life)
      3. Health factors (smoking, obesity, physical inactivity, clinical care, physical environment, socioeconomic factors)
        1. Lackawanna = 40th Luzerne = 56th of 67 PA counties
    2. Lackawanna, Luzerene, Wyoming county
      1. Population of these 3 counties are at least as likely as entire population of PA to have experienced a heart attack, heart disease, or stroke; told they have diabetes or in poor/fair general health
      2. Obesity rate is near statewide rate
        1. Less than 1 in 4 residents consume at least 5 servings of fruits and/or vegetables daily (equal to PA average)
    3. OVERALL- region compared to PA has significant health challenges generally and with indicators linked to food and nutrition

(Fresh food farmacy article)

    1. Diabetes statistic report- by 2030, 54.9 million will be diagnosed with diabetes
      1. 54% increase from 2015-2030


  1. Focus

County Health Rankings & Roadmaps. (n.d.) Retrieved from (County Health Rankings & Roadmaps)


Feinberg MD, A.T., Hess, A., Passaretti BSN, RN, CCM, M., Coolbaugh MBA, RDN, LDN, S., & Lee MD, MSc, T.H. (2018) Prescribing food as a specialty drug. Retrieved from (Feinberg, Hess, Passaretti, Coolbaugh, & Lee, 2018)

Step 1:

  1. Does the plan briefly describe the social issue or “wicked problem” the plan will be addressing?
  2. Is the organization(s) involved in developing and implementing the plan identified?


We will not be working directly with an organization. However, you may choose to apply this to your organization. Marketing professionals from Geisinger will be evaluating your plan, so at a minimum you should reference them.


  1. Is a summary of the key background information leading to the development of the plan provided? Ideally, you should use reliable statistics.
  2. Is the campaign purpose, the intended impact, discussed?
  3. What is the campaigns focus? This is the approach you will be using to contribute to your plan’s purpose. Areas of focus may be solution-oriented, population -based, or product-related strategies.


Step 2 (Should identify two to three bullets for each):

  1. What organizational strengths will your plan maximize?
  2. What organizational weaknesses will you plan minimize?
  3. What environmental opportunities will you plan take advantage of?
  4. What environmental treats will your plan prepare for?
  5. What findings from prior and similar efforts are noteworthy, those of your and others?

Foods and Healthy Eating Analysis


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