In a busy week of news in the health care and digital health world, it would be easy to miss a press release published on 23rd August on the food-as-medicine front.
But don’t blink this snippet away. It is another strong signal about the growing blur between grocery stores, food, digital tech, and population health.
The digital health platform LLENA (AI) announced its collaboration with Walmart to support people managing diabetes with personalized nutrition support from data tracking pulling through to healthy food delivery.
Note LLENA (AI)’s tagline: “where AI meets GI for better health.”
“LLENA” is the acronym for “Learn to Love Eating Nutritiously Always.” LLENA (AI) Health Solutions sees itself as a digital diabetes management platform powered by artificial intelligence (the “AI” part of the organization’s name).
In the collaboration, Walmart shoppers can access the LLENA (AI) platform to share personal health data and develop their individual glycemic index value that then personalizes foods from Walmart that are in the LLEONA (AI) Cook It Yourself Module. The personal health data can include blood pressure, blood sugar, and other metrics that customize a consumer’s health profile.
The LLENA (AI) platform is downloadable for iOS and Android systems.
LLENA (AI)’s CEO and Founder is Charlotta Carter, a long-time technology veteran and the CEO of GRI Technology Solutions. Charlotta was diagnosed with Type II Diabetes in 2017, and as a tech-innovation, began to work on an AI/GI Diabetes Solution “from the patient’s point of view,” she says in her bio.
Last year, the company was selected to work with Southern University, an Historically Black College and University (HBCU), to participate in the school’s Center of Excellence for Nutrition, Health, Wellness, and Quality of Life program that addresses diet-related health disparities among African Americans.
A wonderful aspect of this development is that Charlotta is an alumna of Southern University.
Collaborating with Walmart, Charlotta and the LLENA (AI) team will be able to scale the solution to lots of people who shop at the store, known for delivering value-for-money — as Walmart’s branding says, “Save money. Live Better.”
Health Populi’s Hot Points: As the Twitterverse and Wall Street digital tech market analysts have been slicing and dicing and engaging in no small amount of Schadenfreude about Amazon’s “sunsetting” the Amazon Care program, we can get lost in forest and trees and noise and signals in the digital health space.
The larger point is that the health care ecosystem is undergoing a blur across various segments and services, along with the inexorable innovation of digital tech — mobile, cloud, cybersecurity, AI, interoperability, and other enablers that will increasingly support and shape what “health care” looks and feels like for both patients and providers.
The dozens of stories covering the event have combined verbs like “shutting down,” “closing,” “shuttering,” and “ending” with the noun, “the telehealth service.”
One title read, “Amazon Care to Stop Caring From December 31.”
Not so fast, health care and business journalists.
Amazon, and Walmart, are taking long views and best in their health care industry strategies. As these and other organizations trying to “disrupt” health care — with an eye firmly on bringing greater patient/consumer-centricity and retail style service enchantment — they mis-step, learn, reorganization and re-shuffle, and refashion solutions.
And even in the midst of households facing challenging, stress-inducing food inflation, millions of U.S. consumers are still looking to food purchases and consumption for health and energy benefits, the latest research from IFIC’s 2022 Food & Health Survey discovered.
The last bar chart comes from IFIC’s 2022 consumer survey, noting that 38% of U.S. consumers were motivated to follow a particular eating pattern to “manage a condition.”
The Walmart + LLENA (AI) alliance will look to serve this motivation among health citizens managing diabetes and GI issues. It’s a sign of more to come, marrying grocery stores and Big Box food channels where people live, shop, and spend their hard-won household budgets.
Oh — and by the way — LLENA (AI) also partnered with Amazon to help build a startup addressing chronic disease leveraging AI. Such is life and good work in the evolving health/care ecosystem.