How the Columbus startup is giving physicians a new tool to make patients healthier
Millions of Americans have visited a doctor for one issue or another, only to find that one of the physician’s biggest pieces of advice is to get into better shape and be healthier. Whether it’s losing weight, improving cardio or adjusting your diet, it’s common knowledge that lifestyle changes can make a massive difference. But what comes next is the challenging part: will a patient commit to those improvements? Do they even know where to begin? That’s where Columbus startup Prescribe FIT comes in. The company specializes in orthopedic patients, helping improve chronic conditions or prepare for procedures.
“We focus on conservative treatment options for patients at a traditional orthopedic practice,” said CEO Brock Leonti. “So someone walks in with joint issues and maybe some excess weight or other factors that are contributing to those issues. The surgeon and their staff will look at you through the lens of traditional medicine, and they’re going to promote some treatment options. One of those is Prescribe FIT. We onboard the patient virtually, provide an environment through our app and build a relationship with one of our care coordinators that promotes health in a way a typical practice can’t.”
Prescribe FIT’s goal is to capitalize on our ultra-connected digital lifestyles by “changing the paradigm” of health care. Their app keeps patients connected and on-track on a daily basis, while they match each patient with a care coordinator. That coordinator — a real person who has real conversations with patients — is a focal point of Prescribe FIT, adding a personal touch of support and accountability.
“I call patients every week to cheer them on to get them to their healthiest,” said Care Coordinator Angela Hunter. “We set small, attainable goals every week that could be as simple as drinking enough water. Then we work on fruits and veggies, increase protein for healing, especially if they’ll have to have surgery. My biggest weight-loss patient is down 80 pounds, and she’s been my patient for just about a year. What’s not to love about that?”
That approach from Prescribe FIT fills an important hole in the health care process. Instead of simply suggesting that a patient lose weight or get healthier and then leaving them to their own devices, partner physicians are able to use Prescribe FIT as a method of achieving those goals.
“When a physician sits down with a patient, they’re looking at them holistically,” Leonti said. “There are a lot of factors that lead to the root cause of the issue — in their joints, for instance. We fill the void of a treatment pathway that would normally just be mentioned to the patient. A doctor will tell a patient that weight loss is recommended, and that conversation would normally be, ‘I would like you to look at diet or exercise.’ Instead of just recommending that, they now have a program that fills that need for their patients and serves as an extension of their practice.”
Prescribe FIT arms patients with education on what steps are required and why. They help establish better diet and nutrition, get patients on an exercise schedule, decrease or manage stress and even improve sleep. The result can be life-changing, literally, which is what it’s all about for the team.
“We transform life by transforming lifestyles,” Leonti said. “The patient is our number one focus. The impact we can make is the ability to change someone’s life. We hear stories about people being able to walk up and down their stairs carrying laundry again or get back to gardening the way they used to. Sometimes people have a lot of emotional and physical pain they’re dealing with, and we can help them reduce that. All of that leads to literally years added to someone’s life.”
Amid the buzzing startup environment in Columbus and the amazing quality of health care across Ohio, Leonti said central Ohio has provided the perfect opportunity for a growing startup. And as he watches other companies succeed and founders start new ventures, it’s a clear example of how high the ceiling can be for an Ohio startup.
“Columbus has been a great home for us,” he said. “We have amazing people who live here, so when we look to hire there’s a wide array of talent. We also have some great support from startup organizations here. And especially over the last ten years, we’ve seen unicorns being born here and the founders of those companies are very supportive. Some of them are even investors and mentors for Prescribe FIT. It’s something I find invigorating every day, to be able to turn to someone and say, ‘OK, you’ve done this before and you’re right in my backyard. Let’s work together and make this great.’”