Along with convenience, planning meals ahead can also be part of a larger health plan.
As part of the deal, members of Evergreen Health will have free access to features on DinnerTime that assist in advance meal planning. Drawing from items that are on sale at a user’s chosen local grocery store, the app recommends meals using an algorithm that combines health considerations like a medical issue or dietary restrictions, and combines it with what a user is capable of cooking given time, budget and preferences.
Along with health insurers, the startup has partnered with employers (like a department store) and health plans since rolling out its features in late 2013. A team of 15 people works on the app.
For the Co-op, the app is seen as a tool for preventative care. At its health centers in Baltimore city, White Marsh, Columbia and Greenbelt, Evergreen has care coordinators that work with members on general wellness concerns that may fall outside of medication and treatment, said CEO Peter Beilenson.
“We wanted to give them a tool to allow them to work with their members who have chronic conditions, or in general want to have a wellness plan on their own,” Beilenson said.
In the chronic condition category, the risks or effects of diseases like diabetes and heart disease could be prevented through better nutrition.
There is also hard evidence that cooking at home helps nutrition. DinnerTime cofounder Charlie Moore pointed us to a year-old study from Johns Hopkins that indicated that people who cook at home ate fewer calories, as well as fewer carbs and fats.
Beilenson said DinnerTime was an affordable option for the Co-op, and that they would look to promote its availability in electronic communications with members and potential members in 2016.