… Have a Cell Phone. Odds are you don’t know anyone. Even my beloved 98 year old Aunt has a mobile phone. In fact, by 2019, it is estimated that five billion people will own a mobile phone. This is good news and a great opportunity for your obesity treatment center.
Each day, programs like yours struggle to motivate and retain their weight loss patients. Patients start the program highly motivated to lose the weight, exercise and improve their health. Their energy is contagious. You are sure they will follow through… but they don’t. A couple of weeks into your program, they lose interest or simply disappear. Why? Well, lots of reasons, actually: Patients gain confidence to forge forward towards their goal independently; they revert back to their old habits; friends or family members become jealous and sabotage their success. There are many reasons behind patient drop-off or their failure to increase activity or lose weight while on your program.
Here is the good news: There is a way to increase success among your patients, and it’s supported by new research.
A review of 224 studies, published in the Journal of the American Heart Association, revealed that the effect of using the internet and various digital devices, including a mobile phone, found that, “Participants in mobile device interventions (using smartphone apps or receiving text or voicemail messages) increased their physical activity and lost body weight/fat.”
“Programs that have components such as goal-setting and self-monitoring and use multiple modes of communication with tailored messages tended to be more effective,” says author Ashkan Afshin, MD, MPH, MSc, ScD, Acting Assistant Professor of Global Health at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington. “We also found these programs were more effective if they included some interactions with healthcare providers. Clinicians, in particular in primary care settings, can use such programs to help people improve their lifestyle behaviors and reduce the risk of chronic disease, such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes.”
Therefore, it is logical to conclude, as a result of this study, that combining your personal in-office interactions with a digital tool will enhance your patient’s outcomes. So, it’s not just about providing high protein meal replacement shakes or weight loss supplements to achieve success. Patients need increased contact between in-office interventions through messaging or an app in addition to an effective way to set goals and monitor their own progress to achieve weight loss success.
Source: Ashkan Afshin, Damilola Babalola, Mireille Mclean, Zhi Yu, Wenjie Ma, Cheng‐Yu Chen, Mandana Arabi, Dariush Mozaffarian. Information Technology and Lifestyle: A Systematic Evaluation of Internet and Mobile Interventions for Improving Diet, Physical Activity, Obesity, Tobacco, and Alcohol Use. Journal of the American Heart Association, 2016; 5 (9): e003058 DOI: 10.1161/JAHA.115.003058
Blog written by Lynda Lewis/Robard Corporation
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