Four Effective Compliance Strategies for Your Weight Loss Patients
— By By Karol Clark, MSN, RN
Optimal weight loss patient outcomes are the goal. Short and long-term compliance is required for ultimate success.
With obesity levels in the United States last reported at 42.4 percent, there is good reason that at any given time, two out of three adults are trying to control their weight each year.1 Yet the majority do not experience long-term success. As you may already know, there are many biological, psychological and social reasons that contribute to poor weight loss outcomes and eventual weight regain. As a committed practitioner and weight loss expert, these facts have likely fueled your desire to make a greater impact on the health of the patients you serve through effective weight loss services and products. One of the greatest predictors of success is consistent patient compliance.
What Are The Most Effective Strategies For Increasing The Compliance Of Weight Loss Patients?
In both research and practical application, the following four strategies have been shown to improve weight loss patient compliance:
- DON’T UNDERESTIMATE THE IMPORTANCE OF GOAL SETTING
Your weight loss patient needs to know their personal ‘why’ for seeking your services (and it can’t be for someone else). Fine tuning these — together — into a greatly desired and realistic short and long-term goal that is written down and reviewed often provides the patient with a reminder as to why they need to be compliant in their efforts. It also provides a way to measure progress. These goals provide you with insight into what is most important to the patient and serves as a valuable coaching tool as you work together to keep them on track and motivated. While the long-term goal may remain the same, the short-term goal is updated together as progress is made and celebrated creating added motivation.
- KEEP IT SIMPLE AS YOU BREAK DOWN BARRIERS TOGETHER
Every patient has many real and perceived barriers to weight loss success: Environment, genetics, saboteurs (including themselves), budget constraints, fear, stress, mobility — and everything in between. They came to you because they need help to overcome them. It is your job to keep the pillars of your program as simple as possible with clear guidance and convenience built in. This minimizes confusion for the patient and improves systematization (efficiency) for you. It also opens up time for a deep dive discussion into their specific barriers to success so that you can create a plan together that will help them to overcome. You guide them to start with baby steps and then build their behavioral muscle that will protect them from relapse or “giving up.” The patient knows they are heard; they discover day to day actions that will work for them, and their relationship with your practice is strengthened — which also enhances compliance. If your services or products are confusing in any way or specific barriers aren’t addressed, inaction or failure often results. That’s one of the reasons why Robard offers effective turnkey weight management programs to help streamline this process for you and your team.
- PROVIDE MULTIPLE LEVELS OF ACCOUNTABILITY
Accountability is your support, engagement and tough love all rolled into one. It can be viewed as very time consuming. However, if you build in multiple levels of accountability (some automated), this perceived burden becomes more effective and fun! In addition to the personalized coaching accountability (online or onsite) you and your team provide, you can add in automation through integrated wearables, apps and messaging. It has never been as easy as it is today and technology continues to improve. Your patient can easily communicate with your practice and provide the data you need with minimal effort. You can see their progress in real-time, have the data you desire at your fingertips and efficiently guide them every step of the way. A great option is the MyHealthyJourney app.
- KEEP PATIENTS EDUCATED, ENGAGED & CONSISTENTLY WINNING SCALE & NON-SCALE VICTORIES
Achieving a higher degree of patient compliance is easier when they are engaged with you and your team and an active part of their care. As a result, they are more likely to experience the results they desire — scale victories as well as the non-scale victories that positively impact their everyday life. Patient education and engagement begins with their initial interaction with you and your team and continues for as long as you keep them engaged while providing them with the services and products they need/desire. Top strategies include making it easy for patients to find you, letting them know how you can help them achieve their desired outcome, simplifying the path to your door and guiding them to success. With the many tools available today such as video, secure e-mail and text, responsive apps, blogging and podcasting, staying connected has never been easier.
Patient Compliance Offers Additional Benefits to You and Your Practice
In addition to short and long-term weight loss patient success, patient compliance can lead to a higher level of profitability and growth for your practice. Successful patients tend to have a higher level of satisfaction, provide more online reviews/testimonials (especially if you ask for them), refer other patients and continue to purchase your products and services. To ensure these benefits, you simply need to continue to engage with them (i.e. online/e-newsletters/text/through your app), provide valuable resources along with some enticing offers to continue their journey with you and your team.
About the Author: Karol Clark, MSN, RN, is a best-selling author who has a passion for helping physicians integrate effective, profitable weight loss services and retail sales into their practice while improving patient outcomes and enjoying the journey along the way. Her use of non-traditional (easy to implement) medical marketing strategies, along with her dedication to a positive ROI makes her a uniquely different and sought after weight loss business consultant. Karol is the CEO of Weight Loss Practice Builder and the exclusive membership program for weight loss practitioners, www.BariatricBusinessBoss.com. She has more than 20 years of experience working with surgical and medical weight loss patients and assisting physicians build an enjoyable bariatric practice.