Newman T; Lee JS
Produce prescription programs (PPPs) have grown in numbers in the past decade, empowering health care providers to promote health by issuing subsidies for produce to vulnerable patients. However, little research has been conducted on the facilitators that make it easier for PPPs to succeed or the barriers that programs face, which could provide guidance on how to improve future PPP design and implementation. The study sought to identify the facilitators and barriers affecting positive outcomes in Georgia PPPs called Fruit and Vegetable Prescription (FVRx) Programs. A process evaluation with a qualitative comparative case study approach was conducted. Fifteen FVRx providers, ranging from nutrition educators to farmers market managers, were interviewed in a focus group interview or on the phone between 2016 and 2017. Two nutrition education classes and an FVRx best practices meeting were observed, and program documents were collected. Interview transcripts, field notes from observations, and documents were then thematically analyzed. Four overall themes were determined regarding facilitators and barriers experienced by FVRx programs: (1) creating accessible programming may encourage FVRx participation, (2) provider dedication to the program is important, (3) participants' challenging life circumstances can make participation difficult, and (4) the sustainability of the program is a concern. The findings of this study suggest helpful strategies and challenges for providers to consider when developing and implementing PPPs in Georgia and beyond. Research on the long-term program impact is needed, and policy options for sustainable, scaling up of PPPs should be explored.