With obesity on the rise exacerbated by Covid-19, the number of patients seeking weight loss treatment continues to increase. Is your bariatric practice equipped to meet those obesity treatment demands?
In the previous decade, the estimated number of annual bariatric procedures performed rose from 158,000 to 256,000, an increase of 62%. Obesity providers everywhere need to assess their current ability to meet increasing patient needs and prioritize implementing processes that can facilitate growing numbers of cases. Patient-reported outcome measures are at the center of providing that care, facilitating more efficient and value-based obesity treatment. How you collect them could define how well your practice fares in the future of obesity care.
- Global obesity rates have increased due to the Covid-19 pandemic, significantly increasing the demand for weight loss treatment.
- High-quality patient-reported outcome measures are essential to meeting this growing demand and providing more patients with value-based care.
- Gathering high-quality PROMs depends on identifying valuable data points, collecting them at regular intervals, and automating the process for maximum efficiency.
The Rising Demand for Obesity Treatment
The demand for obesity treatment is rising rapidly in concern with the rise in obesity worldwide and our understanding of its comorbidities. The World Health Organization reports that global levels of obesity have almost tripled since 1975. Today, more people live in countries where the preventable condition of being overweight or obese kills more people than being underweight.
Forty-two percent of U.S. adults gained weight during the Covid-19 pandemic, attributable to stress, altered eating patterns, food insecurity, and lack of access to their usual recreational activities. This has left millions of people more vulnerable to the coronavirus: obese patients are 113% more likely to require hospitalization, 74% more likely to be admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU), and 48% more likely to die from the virus.
Understanding the increased risk that obesity poses is driving increasing numbers of patients to seek treatment. As demand for treatment skyrockets, so too does the weight loss market, which is predicted to rise at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 5.2% from 2022 to 2028. By the end of 2028, it is expected to be worth $4.9 billion, a significant increase from its current $3.68 billion.
So, how can obesity care providers rise to meet this challenge? And what actions can you take now to ensure you increase your market share as demand grows? The answer lies in understanding and effectively leveraging patient-reported outcome measures (PROMs).
How Gathering Quality PROMs Help Providers Meet Obesity Treatment Demands
PROMs are key to understanding your patients’ needs and providing them with high-quality care. These contemporaneous measures help you as a provider to individualize and customize the care plan for each patient as they progress through their healthcare journey, as well as demonstrate the value of that care to both the patient and payer.
The effective analysis and application of PROMs can help you to:
- Lower healthcare costs by focusing on only the most effective treatments and eliminating unnecessary or wasteful ones.
- Anticipate potential complications and take steps in advance to mitigate the risk of them occurring or becoming serious.
- Increase patient engagement to make patients active participants in their own healthcare.
- Coordinate effective communication between you, your patients, and the rest of the care team.
- Assess processes and procedures for opportunities to streamline.
How to Gather High-Quality PROMs
You can gather patient-reported outcomes (PROs) through surveys and questionnaires issued to patients through your patient portal or other collection methods. Regardless of the tool you choose for your practice, it’s important to design PROMs that will deliver high-value data points at regular intervals, and leverage technology to automate the process. This ensures that the information gathered will be accessible and actionable for your team and free of any impractical delays caused by manual entry and analysis.
1. Identify High-Value Data Points
Your focus when gathering PROs should be on data points that will contribute value to payers. As the healthcare industry shifts towards a value-based care approach and bundled payment programs become increasingly common, the information you collect should be designed to demonstrate value to patients and payers.
For bariatric patients, these data points could include:
- Pain and discomfort
- Bowel symptoms
- Steps and mobility
- Eating behavior
- Quality of life
These couple meaningfully with clinical data sets to provide a complete picture of the patient’s health outcomes and level of satisfaction, which can, in turn, help you as the provider to improve patient retention.
2. Collect Data Points at Regular Intervals
Early and consistent patient enablement throughout the episode of care has been shown to improve health outcomes and reduce patient anxiety. That’s why it’s important to establish a schedule for the collection of PROs that ensures you gather data at regular intervals.
Starting from the first moment that bariatric surgery is being considered, you should engage your patients through patient-reported outcomes to establish strong patient-provider communication. By routinely collecting data throughout each patient’s bariatric journey, you can build a more comprehensive picture of your patient’s status and equip your team with the information they need to adapt to the patient’s changing needs in real time.
3. Automate Data Collection and Organization
A significant number of data points are required to build a comprehensive and robust set of PROMs. Manually collecting, inputting, organizing, analyzing, and distributing that amount of information would be extremely challenging and rob the process of one of its most valuable attributes: timeliness.
By automating data collection and organization, you not only save your team valuable time that can be better spent interfacing directly with patients, but you also make the process quick and convenient for patients. In this digital age, patients expect the ease of completing questionnaires on the device of their choosing at the time that is most convenient for them. Sending your patients automated reminders in a convenient digital format streamlines the process for you and increases their overall satisfaction in your practice.
Meet Rising Obesity Treatment Demands with Wellbe
Wellbe’s care automation solutions are designed to make collecting PROMs easy for your team, helping you to capture a larger market share and meet rising demands for obesity treatment. Our ConnectedCare solutions engage patients and support their entire bariatric journey from referral through to recovery. We automate hundreds of non-clinical tasks including surveys and questionnaires to collect the data you need without the need for any additional staff.
Learn how Wellbe can tip the scales in your favor.