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Marathon Family Health Team introduces new app

Joining other family health teams and practitioners across the country, MFHT has introduced the RxFood app to patients in their catchment area.

MARATHON — Snapping pictures of your meals is no longer just about social media clout but could actually improve your health, particularly if you live in or around Marathon.

The Marathon Family Health Team recently announced the launch of RxFood, a nutrition app for use by patients and practitioners in their catchment area.

The app is designed to help patients track the nutritional value of their meals using a mixture of artificial intelligence and photos that patients take of their food.

Once a patient has taken a picture of their food, the artificial intelligence integral to the app assesses the quality of the meal and provides feedback that the patient can use to adjust their diet or confirm that they’re on the right track.

It also offers continued support and tips for ongoing dietary improvements.

All feedback is personalized to each individual, including dietary preferences or restrictions.

The Marathon Family Health Team’s chief operating officer and health promotion coordinator, Michèle Lajeunesse, said that the introduction of this app to their patients was a natural fit thanks to their lifestyle medicine program.

“We learned about the app through Dr. Jeff Alfonsi, co-founder and chief medical officer at RxFood. He learned about our lifestyle medicine program and, being an obesity medicine/lifestyle medicine physician, thought our team might be interested in introducing the RxFood tool to our rural and remote community to enhance access to nutrition services,” Lajeunesse said.

“We decided to implement this tool because there's a lot of nutrition information out there, and it can be challenging for people to figure out what's accurate and relevant. Our goal is for RxFood to complement health-care provider appointments by delivering personalized nutrition information and advice to users.”

Any information stored in the app is protected under the Personal Health Information Protection Act (PHIPA) and Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).

There are a limited number of patients who will be able to use the app and those who sign-up must use the app for at least three days to maximize its effectiveness.

Patients aged 18 and above living in Marathon, Biigtigong Nishnaabeg First Nation, and Netmizaaggamig Nishnaabeg First Nation are eligible to register.

The goal is to have 75 patients registered in total for a one-year trial ending later this year - on Oct. 31.

Lajeunesse said that, ideally, they will continue using the app beyond the end date.

“Throughout the one-year trial, we'll be keeping an eye on how well it's working, checking if it's really making a difference for patients in changing their nutrition habits. We'll also see if it's feasible for our clinic to keep providing the app for free.

Since there's a cost tied to using this app for our clinic, there might always be a limit to how many patients can use it at once,” she said.

And it sounds like those who have already signed up for the app are finding it useful.

“We've seen a positive response already, with some patients actively participating in the program," Lajeunesse said.

"Given that we don't currently have a registered dietitian, RxFood empowers health-care providers on our team to offer personalized and evidence-based nutrition advice to patients striving to make positive dietary changes.”

Based on the response from patients so far and looking to the future, Lajeunesse said the integration of RxFood is just one step towards fulfilling the Marathon Family Health Team’s goals over the next several years.

“As part of our strategic objectives for 2023-2026, Marathon Family Health Team aims to explore digital health tools, invest in technology for improved access to high-quality personalized care, and empower patients to manage their own health through education and shared decision-making.

"The introduction of our RxFood program exemplifies our commitment to taking proactive steps toward achieving these goals,” Lajeunesse said.

If you are interested in signing up for RxFood, please give the Marathon Family Health Team a call at (807) 229-3243 or send an email to More information can also be found on their Facebook and Instagram pages, as well as their website:

The Marathon Family Health Team will also be offering a workshop on Jan. 24 at 4:15 pm to help interested patients learn more and register for RXFood.

The workshop will be held at the former COVID Assessment Centre, to the right of the Marathon Library.

Austin Campbell, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

About the Author: Austin Campbell, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Austin Campbell is a local journal initiative reporter covering stories in the Superior North region.
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