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Supply Chains and App-based Platforms: Scaling Food, Medicine, and Health Care Access for Good

When we think of supply chains, we tend to think of truckers, factories, and cargo ships. But there’s another key part of the supply chain, especially for last-mile transportation and deliveries: app-based platform companies. 


Supply chains have been in the news often in the past few years. The COVID pandemic shone a light on the importance of supply chains that are robust and resilient. 


Policymakers have responded. Late last year, President Biden announced a series of supply chain related initiatives that, according to the White House, “will help Americans get the products they need when they need them.” 


Whether it’s food, medicine, or health care transportation, the app-based platforms that Flex represents are helping people and businesses get the products and the services they need when they need them, as the White House described. 


Healthy Food and Nutrition. Concerned about expanding access to healthier food options? The app-based industry has got you covered: 


DoorDash’s Project DASH has worked to empower food banks, food pantries, and other social impact organizations to use DoorDash logistics to power the delivery of charitable food and other essential items in a way that emphasizes convenience and dignity.  


Grubhub continues to commit to partnering to close the hunger gap on a national and regional scale through their support of food banks, community food pantries, food recovery organizations and innovative technology that provide access to medically tailored meals. Additionally, Grubhub expanded its Serving the City program, which drives collective action through working with public officials to provide culturally relevant meals to communities in areas of need, while simultaneously supporting local independent restaurants. 


Instacart Health has partnered with providers and healthcare leaders like Mount Sinai Health Systems and Kaiser Permanente to scale food as medicine programs and bring healthy, nutritional foods to your doorstep. 


Shipt has launched partnerships to improve local access to health foods, empower consumers to make health choices, and enhance nutritional research on how health food delivery can benefit low-income pregnant women. 


Uber’s Uber Health delivers better patient experiences with transportation, same-day prescription, and home delivery for groceries and over-the-counter items, enhancing benefit coordination. 


As app-based platforms take these key steps, the stakes are high and the benefits significant. A study from The Rockefeller Foundation found that medically tailored meals for many patients could avoid 1.6 million hospitalizations and save $13.6 billion in health care costs in just one year. 


Prescriptions and Medicine. Worried about a spate of drugstore closures creating pharmacy deserts? App-based platforms are helping fill those gaps, particularly in vulnerable neighborhoods. 


For instance, DoorDash and Uber partnered with Walgreens to provide same day Rx delivery of HIV medications. Grubhub has partnered with Rite Aid to provide nationwide delivery of health and wellness essentials. Additional app-based platform partnerships include CVS for OTC medications and free Paxlovid delivery, among others.


An increasing number of app-based platforms also are offering SNAP/EBT recipients the ability to use their benefits to access fresh groceries conveniently, along with food and medicine delivery options for Medicare Advantage and Medicaid beneficiaries, further reducing barriers for those in need. 


Medical Transportation. Vexed by poor health care outcomes stemming from missed medical appointments? App-based platforms like Uber and Lyft are serving as key partners providing transportation services for medical appointments and health care services. 


Appointment no-shows and prescription delays stemming from a lack of transportation happens more often than we think: 20 percent of adults that don’t have vehicle or public transportation access skipped key healthcare services last year, according to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The downsides are real: a “[l]ack of transportation leads to missed or rescheduled appointments, delays in getting prescriptions filled, poorer management of chronic illness and subsequently poorer health outcomes.


That’s why it’s exciting that the evidence from app-based platform partnerships in this space are so promising: health care providers have seen meaningful reductions in patient no-shows and increases in clinical trial retention rates—while providing reliable and cost-efficient options that generate real savings


App-based platforms have grown to become solution providers and community partners committed to ensuring everyone has access to the essential services they need to live healthy, productive lives. 


Our members are proud to play a key role in the supply chain that brings vital goods and services to so many. That’s harnessing the power of technology for good.

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