RobardUser Robard Corporation | All posts tagged 'weight loss programs'

How Social Support Aids Weight Loss



Physicians are making great strides in learning how to effectively treat obesity despite the innumerable challenges that stand in the way of patients’ success. Overweight and obese patients sometime must face their own internalized stigma — but what happens when they leave their provider’s office? If a patient doesn’t have social support, their success can be derailed — and not just at the beginning stages of weight loss, but also when it comes to long-term maintenance.

Of course, having their physician’s support is crucial, as many patients are not familiar with the most effective and safe methods to lose weight. For those with a significant amount of weight to lose, a medically supervised diet may be the only successful way to get to a healthy weight (short of costly and sometimes invasive surgeries). It is usually the doctor’s role to provide the information, resources, and expertise necessary to make such a drastic health change happen. But recent studies are starting to show that positive (rather than instructive) social support appears beneficial in weight loss maintenance.

If you’re a health care provider seeing overweight patients who are reluctant to start a weight loss program, having trouble being compliant, or experience regain after successfully completing a program, you may need to assess whether or not a lack of social support is a factor.

Don’t be afraid to ask your patients directly about what kind of support they have (or don’t have) outside your office. Do they experience bullying or fat shaming in their workplace or community? Do they have family or friends who encourage them? Do they have family or friends that enable their bad eating habits?

As a provider, there may be some things you can do to fill these gaps to help your patients be more successful. Consider some of these strategies:

1. Do you have a psychologist, nutritionist, or health educator on staff?
Perhaps this person can start a weekly or monthly support group for weight loss patients, a “no judgement group” where patients can meet with other patients to vent, share successes and frustrations, and know they are not alone in the process. This can create wonderful morale that supports the weight loss journey. If you don’t have a staff member who can facilitate this, perhaps you can identify a patient or volunteer who would be willing to facilitate this kind of gathering.

2. Encourage your patients to buddy up. 
According to one study, participants who enrolled in a weight loss program with friends did a better job of keeping their weight off. In addition to teaming up with friends, these enrollees were given social support in addition to standard treatment. Two-thirds of those who enrolled with friends had kept their weight off six months after the meetings ended. In contrast, only a quarter of those who attended on their own had achieved that same success. Ask your patients if they have family or friends who are interested in losing weight too, and provide a referral incentive for getting them onboard. That’s a win-win for both of you because that also adds to your patient census!

3. Start an online community for your patients.
If you don’t have the time, money, or space to do a formal support group, social media provides us with great free alternatives. For example, you can create a secret, invitation-only Facebook group that allows patients to interact with and support each other, while still being a safe and confidential space. Have a staff member moderate the group to ensure ground rules are being followed, and incorporate it into your practice’s usual social media routine. Need some help with exploring the possibilities through social media? Download our free helpful guide of tips to learn how to effectively use social media for your weight loss program.

Sources: American Psychological Association, NCBI, Mayo Clinic


Blog written by Vanessa Ramalho/Robard Corporation


Read More >>

Weight Loss: An Ancillary Service that Boosts Revenue



Connect the dots: While weight loss is a thriving, several billion dollar industry, group practices are steadily losing revenue. Apparently, there is much to be learned in the medical world about how to tailor the business side of operating a health practice to meet the needs of its patients, or rather, its consumers.

Let’s face it: A medical practice is a business. And businesses need revenue to survive and thrive. Traditionally, most practices have relied on insurance reimbursement for its financial wellness. However, with insurance and health care currently in the political crosshairs, most practices — especially small and mid-sized ones — need to look for ways of being financially independent. This is where ancillary services can come in, and provide a means for practices to generate revenue with fee-for-services options that support their patients with their most pressing health issues. Medically supervised weight loss is an underutilized health care service which can potentially result in a serious influx of consistent revenue.

Think about it — every single medical practice has a built-in clientele for weight loss services. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than two thirds of U.S. adults are overweight and more than one third are obese. It’s safe to say that with this many people suffering from what the American Medical Association has now classified as a chronic disease, most providers have patients with obesity that need to lose weight for a multitude of reasons. In fact, not only are physicians missing out on revenue potential, obesity is actually costing them money because of the expenses linked to treating comorbid conditions directly associated with the disease.

Many doctors who have decided to start offering weight loss services have agreed that it is a stable revenue source with minimal startup costs. In fact, a program can generate nearly $1,000,000 in net revenue in just three years. Plus, getting a program started is much easier than you might think, especially when you work with an experienced partner. Robard helps you change the lives of your patients by providing all of the tools needed to run your own medically supervised weight management program. Centered on personalized nutrition and behavior change, our programs include out-of-the-box components/solutions for your medical team to offer your patients a successful fee-for-service weight loss program. The kicker? We provide you with complimentary support services you need for the lifetime of our relationship.

So really, there’s nothing to lose, but so much to gain. Why continue to struggle financially when there is an untapped profitable market for weight loss already walking through your doors? Ready to learn more? Click here to watch our free webcast on how to incorporate medical weight loss into your existing practice or contact us today and receive a free potential revenue analysis and consultation on how adding this ancillary service can boost your practice profitability!

Sources: Medscape, U.S. News Health


Blog written by Vanessa Ramalho/Robard Corporation

Read More >>

Patients’ Health Not Improving? It’s Why I Treat Obesity



I think we are at a crossroads in medicine right now. Imagine the perfect storm. Life expectancy is decreasing for the first time in generations. Public health measures have gotten a hold of cigarette smoking only to have obesity rise up and surpass it as the leading cause of preventable death. Major attempts at curbing obesity and diabetes have failed. The final data on Healthy People 2010 outcomes showed obesity and overweight individuals worsened over the measured period. At the same time, health care costs are high, outcomes are poor, and there is a scourge of physician and provider burnout — there’s even a shortage in some areas.

Is this a coincidence? I can still practically taste my frustration of seeing my patients get worse and worse every three months when I saw them. Their blood sugar, blood pressure, and cholesterol got just a little worse each time. Heartburn, reflux, sleep apnea, depression, etc., would creep up on them. The medication list, the problem list, the referral list, the order list, all got longer and longer. The patients kept saying the same thing, “I want to get better.” I would manage their numbers effectively, for the most part. Their “ABCs” of diabetes met my quality goals for my bonus. But they did not “feel” better — they felt worse, and so did I. Was this why I went to medical school? I did not feel I was healing anyone; rather, I was only managing numbers with pharmacology. Something had to change.

When I first started offering obesity counseling, it was based on a Mediterranean type diet and food exchange. I started to see some exciting trends in blood sugar, blood pressure, and weight, as you would expect. I did not expect to see the changes I saw in the patients themselves. They became more engaged and optimistic about their health. For some patients, this program was all they needed. But, for many people farther on the spectrum of obesity, it was only the beginning.

That was when I quit my safe and secure position at a large health system and opened my own practice based on the program offered by Robard. And that was when the really exciting results started happening. That was June 2015.

At first, it was the ones who already knew me from primary care who trickled in. Then, it was their friends, families, coworkers, kid’s teachers, and anyone who saw them. Word got around, and the floodgates opened. They all said the same thing. The program gave them hope and then gave them their life back. They wished they had had it sooner. They wished they had known it was out there. They wished their doctor had told them about it. They wished more people could hear of it.

Since then, I have opened a second clinic and the patients have lost a combined total of 29,572 pounds. They report the program is the easiest diet they have ever done, most of them enjoy the taste of the medical foods and would like to be reassured that they will still be allowed to have one for breakfast or lunch once they reach their goal weight. They typically report that taking food away for a period made a huge difference in the role that food plays in their life, their relationship with food, their eating habits, and their cravings. I have learned that taking food away is one of the most important behavioral aspects of the program, even if only for a month. Since food can be addictive for some people, taking it away completely can be crucial for long term change, which is the opposite effect that you may be warned about by some critics of a short term rapid weight loss program that is “unsustainable.”

When patients come in the first time, they are sick and tired of feeling sick and tired. They have a hard time making it through the day, let alone going to the gym after work. I tell them casually not to worry, after the first 40 pounds comes off, they will feel much more like being active, they look at me like I am crazy. When I tell them that they will most likely not need any insulin after four weeks, they burst into a smile. When I tell them that after all the dozens of diets they have tried, with cabbage and lemons and meal prepping, all they have to do is drink a shake every four hours and the weight will come off, and they can go on with their lives of caring for their kids, parents, sick spouses and full time job, they are truly relieved.

And, for me, I now know why I went to medical school. Obesity is like lupus. It does involve every system in the body. You do have to treat the whole patient for the best outcomes.

So, for me, I honestly had some selfish goals. I wanted to feel purposeful and like I was making a difference. I mean, I get to cure diabetes, taking people off of 150 units of insulin who had been told they would be on it for the rest of their lives, freeing them from over one hundred shots of insulin a month. It is like curing cancer or chronic pain. Now, the biggest problem with my work is that I am so busy and I can’t seem to tell anyone “no” because I know the results they will get and they cannot get similar treatment anywhere else — at least at this point. So, I am working longer hours, but I love every minute of it, and at least I am not a helicopter parent and I hope my kids are learning “grit” and determination and non-normative gender roles by observation, but that is another talk.

So, I implore you to take bold action. In the name of decreasing life expectancy, plummeting quality of life, astronomical health care costs, physician burnout and sell out, turn away from the focus on HEDIS measures, patient satisfaction, quality bonuses, resource allocation and meaningful use. Before we turn into Wally World, stop missing the forest for the trees. Be the little boy who called out the Emperor’s New Clothes. Choose the path less traveled, operate at the sharp end of the sword, do what no one else can without those initials after their name can do, and fix the underlying problem.

Read More >>