What Can Increase Your Risk of Cancer? You Might Be Surprised…


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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

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The Dos and Don’ts of a Healthy Halloweeen



Halloween is right around the corner! Here are some dos and don’ts to keep you on track on this All Hallows’ Eve:

DON’T give out candy on an empty stomach.
The hungrier you are with a bowl of candy close by, the more likely you
are to indulge in eating some. Be sure to keep your regular eating
habits, and that includes dinner.

DO have healthy snacks close.
Even if you aren’t hungry, it can be hard to resist taking a little
dive into the sea of miniature candies. Have some fruit or nuts close by
that you can reach for instead. Even better, stock up on some Robard
bars and snacks. You’ll thank yourself later.

DON’T have the candy in a place you have to look at it all the time. Having
the candy right next to you on the couch or table makes it more
tempting. Keep the candy by the door and the only time you’ll see it is
when you are handing it out to trick-or-treaters. Out of sight, out of
mind.

DO buy candy as close to the day as possible. The sooner
you buy it, the longer it’s in your house. And that means you have to
maintain the willpower to avoid it for a longer period of time. Instead,
wait until a day or two before October 31.

DON’T bring left
over candy with you wherever you go after Halloween is over.
Before you
know it you’ll be eating candy for breakfast, lunch and dinner — and a
snack in between. If you have leftover candy, leave it at home so after a
long day’s work (and a nice workout), you can indulge in a piece if you
feel so inclined — but leave it at a piece. Better yet? Save yourself
the temptation and bring the leftover candy to work and leave it out for
co-workers to enjoy!

DO give out as many treats as you can and
leave as little as possible leftover.
If the night is over and you have
three unopened bags of candy left it means one of two things: 1.) You
overestimated how many trick-or-treaters you were going to get; or 2.)
You bought too much candy for the occasion. It’s OK to have a little
surplus at the end but make a conscious effort to buy only what you’ll
think you’ll need.

DON’T buy more candy than you need to. When
this time of year comes around candy can be bought at a bargain. Buy
just enough so that trick-or-treaters leave your house with a smile on
their faces. Don’t buy so much that you will be in a sugar coma by the
end of the night by eating leftovers that you didn’t give out.

DO
dress in a costume.
For our last “do” let’s get into the spirit of the
occasion. Halloween has become a day that gives us a reason to have fun!
Enjoy yourself! If you’re invited to a costume party then go, but go
WITH a costume. It’s more fun and is always a conversation starter!


Blog written by Marcus Miller/ Robard Corporation

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Why Weight Loss is Not as Simple as Cutting Calories



When it comes to calorie counting, not many people — if any at all — like doing it. It’s monotonous, tedious, and restrictive. It takes all the joy out of eating. You counted all your calories, so you should be losing weight, right? Well, not necessarily. If you stop to think about what a calorie is, you will find that it’s not just how many calories you consume that affects healthy weight loss, but what kinds of calories.

Download the Calorie Equation: Learn to indulge in colorful, flavorful foods without loads of calories with this picture lesson from Dr. Howard Shapiro’s book, Picture Perfect Weight Loss.

Simply put, a calorie is a unit of energy. Our bodies actually need calories to survive because without energy, our cells would die, and our organs would stop functioning. We acquire this energy through food and drink in the form of calories. The number of calories food contains tells us how much potential energy they possess.

Keeping track of how many calories one consumes is, of course, important to weight loss. If you burn off more calories than you consume through physical activity, the body will locate other calories to burn for energy, ultimately using the calories from the body’s fat reserves, and thus stimulating weight loss.

The problem comes in when “empty calories” are consumed; that is, foods high in energy but low in nutritional value. Such foods include fast foods, and foods high in fat and/or sugar, such as ice cream and bacon. More than 11% of Americans’ daily calories come from fast foods, and Americans consume an average of 336 calories per day from sugary beverages alone. To put it more simply, 2,000 calories in the form of vegetables and lean protein will provide a very different result than 2,000 calories in the form of a large fast food burger.

Ultimately, to achieve fast and, most importantly, healthy weight loss, it is important to advise patients to stick to a low calorie diet, but through foods and supplements that are high in nutritional value. Many people continue to find it challenging to stick to a low calorie diet on their own. This is why it is important for health professionals to be proactive in asking overweight patients about their weight loss goals*, and educating them not just about the benefits of achieving a healthy weight, but also about the options that are available to them, such as a Very Low Calorie Diet (VLCD) or Low Calorie Diet (LCD). With a medically supervised VLCD, patients could expect to lose 3-5 pounds a week, enjoying a variety of meal replacements, snacks, and food products that taste great and are scientifically designed to have high nutritional value.

Obesity is on the rise, and healthcare costs and early mortality rates are rising with it. But adding weight loss as a service for your patients is easier than you might think, and can actually get started in 60 days or less with the help of an experienced partner. Contact Robard today and learn how you can increase the quality of care for your patients by starting an obesity treatment program.

*For practical tips on how to speak with patients about their weight, check out this free webcast!

Sources: Medical News Today

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in July 2017 and has been updated for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.


Blog written and edited by Vanessa Ramalho/Robard Corporation


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5 Compliance Tips to Beat the Holiday Snacking Urge



October until the New Year is a tough season for dieters. Every month, there is a holiday that can present numerous challenges to remaining compliant to a diet, with temptation lurking around every corner in the form of candy corn, warm apple pies, buffets, and dining room tables full of fattening, delicious food. By the time New Year’s rolls around — if they are not careful — dieters can find that in three months they put on more weight than they lost in the previous six months. It can be even more difficult to come back from such a setback.

The key is prevention. Set your patients up for success this holiday season by making plans now to deal with holiday temptation. To get the conversation started, click here to download Robard’s helpful Holiday Goal Setter worksheet. Then, use the tips below to have some proactive discussion with your patients to help them stay compliant between now and the New Year:

1. Stock up on Tricks, not Treats
When trick or treating time rolls around, that bowl of candy can look mighty appetizing. Your patients might be eating one piece of candy for every five they give out. Suggest that if they choose to be festive on this holiday, instead of handing out candy, provide fun non-candy dollar store items that the kids will still love, like glow sticks, whoopee cushions, crayons, bubbles, stickers, and temporary tattoos. In addition to avoiding candy cravings, they’ll also be accommodating children who may have food sensitivities/ allergies.

2. Eat healthy first.
If your patients have company or family holiday parties to attend, suggest that they be proactive and control hunger by eating a healthy meal or snack before they arrive to the party. They can even bring along a yummy weight loss shake packet or protein bar that complies with their diet to enjoy just before or during the party to ensure that they are satiated enough to avoid giving in to hunger and overeating. Robard’s meal replacement shakes and bars are delicious and scientifically designed for the highest level of satiety to curb hunger and cravings.

3. Bring your own portion-controlled plate and cup
Those large dinner plates can cause people to pile on far more than a single portion of food, and people are inclined to try and finish all the food on their plate. To help with this, suggest that patients bring their own smaller plate, maybe even find one with sectioned out portions, so that they are aware of how much they are consuming. Bring a five ounce cup and limit oneself to one high calorie beverage a night, and stick to water for the rest of the night.

4. Eat mindfully.
People often overeat because they revert to unconscious eating, leading them to not recognize when they are full. Eating mindfully helps dieters to slow down and focus on what they are eating and how much to create a better connection between their physiological need and their mental state. This can also help them make healthier choices about food selection in addition to eating less. Click here for 9 easy tips on how to eat mindfully during the holidays.

5. Buddy up.
When possible, patients can identify a friend, family member, coworker, or significant other who can be their support system through the holidays. This person may also be on a diet, have similar weight loss goals, or may be someone who can just be there to eat healthier with them, cheer them on, and remind them of their goals (without shaming). It is important that this buddy be positive and uplifting, and can help bring a sense of joy and camaraderie to the pursuit of eating healthy during the holidays. Ask your patients if they have someone in their lives that can support them in this way, and coach them on how to approach such people and make the request for support.

Want more tips on how to keep your patients on track through the holiday season? For Robard customers, there is a wealth of complimentary resources and information available to you in the Holiday section of Robard.com. Simply click the link, log in, and start browsing. For non-Robard customers, contact us today to learn more about our services and resources!


Blog written by Vanessa Ramalho/Robard Corporation


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Want to Save $30k? New Study Says Lose the Excess Weight



How would you feel about having an extra $31,447 in your pocket? Well, according to findings in a new John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health study, that is the average savings in direct medical costs and productivity losses that a 40-year-old adult could expect to see by going from obese to normal weight.

But the study also found that cost savings is apparent for adults at any age group. A 20-year-old adult who goes from obese to healthy weight would see an average savings of $28,020 over their lifetime. After age 50, the largest cost savings occur when an individual with obesity moves to the normal weight, with an average savings of $36,278.

Think about what someone could if they lost all their unhealthy weight and re-allocated the money they would have spent on health care costs toward savings. They could buy a brand new car… a down payment on a house… a vacation around the world… college tuition for their kids. Why continue to allow obesity to hold our lives back?

There is already a wealth of research that illustrates how obesity and related comorbid conditions affects health care costs, workplace productivity, and job absenteeism. The estimated annual health care costs of obesity-related illness are a staggering $190.2 billion or nearly 21 percent of annual medical spending in the United States. This narrative really brings those numbers home to a more personal level when we take a look at what those costs look like for an individual.

“Most previous models have taken into account one or a few health risks associated with obesity. Subsequently, the forecasted costs may be unrealistic,” says Saeideh Fallah-Fini, PhD, a former GOPC visiting scholar who was part of the research team. “In our study, the model we developed takes into account a range of immediate health complications associated with body weight, like hypertension or diabetes, as well as all major long-term adverse health outcomes, including heart disease and some types of cancer, in forecasting the incremental health effects and costs to give a realistic calculation.”

Achieving a healthy weight provides financial benefits to any individual, medical practice, hospital, or company — it’s a win/win for any person, across any industry and population, and now it’s easier than one might think to put into practice. If you are ready to start reducing health care expenses by treating obesity, take a look at these two opportunities below to learn more and get started:

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Free On Demand Webcast: Updates in Obesity 2016-2017



Obesity treatment research is continuously updated. It can be challenging to stay abreast of new treatment protocols, pertinent nutrition information, and new solutions. To help health care professionals to stay ahead of the curve, Robard Corporation offers “Updates in Obesity 2016-2017,” a free, on demand webcast video featuring Dr. Christopher Case, a board certified endocrinologist in Jefferson City, Missouri, practicing at Jefferson City Medical Group.

During this presentation, Dr. Case reviews recently published articles in obesity management and the impact in clinical management; defines the role of macronutrients in weight loss and obesity through the examination of current published studies; and, advises you on how to implement practical weight maintenance techniques and applications through the assessment of current research.

Watch the video below. Then, be sure to check out how Robard can help you treat obesity.




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Being Sensitive to Weight Loss Patients’ 'Bad Habits'



How do you get patients to stick with the plan?
Compliance to a medical treatment can be challenging, to say the least. Patients want to be healthier, more active, and more energetic. Yet time and time again, they fall off the wagon and resort to going back into the same old habits that don’t support their progress. Why? (Click here for a flashback on 5 Bad Habits that Lead to Weight Gain)

For health care providers, it can be frustrating to check in with a patient and hear that their diet or exercise plan isn’t going so well. But it can also help to understand how habits form so you can not only help set realistic expectations for your patient, but also for yourself.

Studies on habit formation have shown that habits form as part of a three-step process. First, there’s a cue, or trigger, that tells your brain to go into automatic mode and let a behavior unfold (i.e. hunger). Then, there’s the routine, which is the actual behavior that we associate as being the “bad habit.” The third step is the reward: Something that your brain likes that helps it remember the “habit loop” in the future. In the case of overweight patients, the pleasure of enjoying “off-limits” food can be their reward. (Learn more about this physiological pleasure connection for those suffering from food addiction in our free white paper.)

Neuroscience has shown that habitual behavior and conscious decision-making are handled by two different parts of the brain, and the area of the brain that controls habits can often supersede and shut down the decision-making area. So when patients revert back to old habits, it is not that they are just battling low motivation or self-control. Their brains are hardwired to return to the behavior that it is used to, even when they no longer benefit from it.

So what can health care providers do?
First off, be patient with your patients. It’s not that they are less committed to their goals; for many it can just be that they require a little more time to relearn healthier habits. Studies show that it can take anywhere from 18 days to 254 days for people to form a new habit. And there will be trips along the way.

Secondly, don’t stress too much about when they mess up. Researchers have found that “missing one opportunity to perform the behavior did not materially affect the habit formation process.” In other words, it doesn’t matter if you mess up every now and then. Reassure your patients that an occasional binge is not the end of the world and encourage them to get back on the horse.

Third, understand that old habits are not forgotten, but replaced with new ones. We can’t magically expect patients to stop a damaging behavior without providing an easier alternative. For overweight people who have an unhealthy relationship with food, there can be a benefit to introducing something like meal replacements. Rather than expecting patients to completely change how they relate to food, they can replace their normal food habits with an easy shake or bar and make it part of a new routine that is easier to implement.

Dr. Valerie Sutherland of Rainier Medical Weight Loss and Wellness notes, “[Patients] typically report that taking food away for a period made a huge difference, 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.’”

For a more help on helping patients set realistic goals they can stick with, instantly download our free Short Term Goal Helper Worksheet!

Sources: NPR, MIT News, HuffPost


Blog written by Vanessa Ramalho/Robard Corporation


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Social Media Tips for Health Care Providers You Can Use Today

14. September 2017 admin Uncategorized Comments (0)



Social Media still remains all the craze today, with participation in every segment of society and every industry around the world, across all ages and professions. In the U.S., the proportion of adults using social media has increased from eight percent to 72 percent since 2005. Health care professionals are not exempt from the perception that if you do not have a social media presence, you are assumed to be behind the times.

For some who don’t feel as internet savvy as others, social media may seem daunting and not worth the effort. But studies have been increasingly showing that social media can cost effectively boost your health outcomes, patient retention, thought leadership, reputation, and even support your bottom line.

Today, social media is about more than just engagement; it is a business imperative. Studies have shown that the use of social media can greatly enhance the image and visibility of a medical center or hospital. In one study, 57 percent of consumers said that a hospital’s social media presence would strongly influence their choice regarding where to go for services. A strong social media presence was also interpreted by 81 percent of consumers as being an indication that a hospital offers cutting-edge technologies. In another study, 12.5 percent of surveyed health care organizations reported having successfully attracted new patients through the use of social media.

Health care providers can use social media to potentially improve health outcomes, develop a professional network, increase personal awareness of news and discoveries, motivate patients, and provide health information to the community. There are simple solutions to getting started that don’t even require you to take the time to develop all original content. (For example, speak to Robard staff about how you can embed the Robard blog directly into your website and take advantage of up-to-date news about health and weight loss.)

However, at the same time, it is a tool that should be used wisely, and be advised by best practices. Always be sure to develop employee guidelines and organizational policies that protect safety and security of patient information, patient consent, employment practices, physician credentialing and licensure, HCP–patient boundaries, and other ethical issues.

Social media isn’t difficult, but it does require some thought. Luckily, Robard has already done a lot of that for you. Download our guide of some basic Social Media Tips to get you started in the right direction. We offer marketing tips like this as part of Business Growth Training, a complimentary service we provide exclusively to Robard customers. Check it out and start growing your social media presence today!

If you want more in-depth social media assistance, or to learn about our other Marketing and Business Growth services, contact us at 800.222.9201 or click here.






Sources: Ventola, C. L. (2014). Social Media and Health Care Professionals: Benefits, Risks, and Best Practices. Pharmacy and Therapeutics, 39(7), 491–520.

Blog written by Vanessa Ramalho/Robard Corporation


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How Being a Physician Living with a Chronic Disease Impacts my Work with Bariatric Patients



“You can make $20 per stool sample?” You would have thought I had won the jackpot! I just thought my colleagues and I were getting one over on the “Diarrhea Clinic” in Guadalajara, Mexico. I attended medical school there and was making a habit of “donating” regularly. What I did not realize was that I wasn’t just suffering from “Montezuma’s Revenge.” It wasn’t until I returned home that I learned I had Crohn’s Colitis, an often debilitating inflammatory condition of the GI tract characterized by abdominal pain, diarrhea, and rectal bleeding. It can often result in multiple surgeries to remove diseased colon and worse, colon cancer.

I spent the next several years on different medications including monthly infusions and weekly injections, all of which had many side effects. During my residency, I spent 10 days in the hospital due to a flare that resulted in over 20 abnormal stools per day, anemia, and almost constant pain. Despite this, I returned to my career determined to not let this disease slow me down.

I became a family doctor and practiced in the primary care setting for nine years. During that time, I discovered a passion for bariatric medicine. This evolved out of a desire to keep myself healthy which required changes in my diet. I found that eliminating processed foods and added sugars, except those naturally occurring in fruits and vegetables, helped me to keep my colitis at bay. With the help of an excellent gastroenterologist, I healed and continued to enjoy excellent health for many years. However, this hasn’t always been easy and this is where bariatrics comes back into the picture.

Taking care of myself every moment of every day requires a lot of work. It means pushing myself to exercise even when I am exhausted. It requires eating salads and protein when others are enjoying pizza or ice cream. It requires actively engaging in positive thinking and using tools like meditation, cognitive behavioral therapy and affirmations to manage stress levels. And I don’t always feel like doing these things. These are exactly the same challenges that, on a day to day basis, my bariatric patients experience.

I find that using these tools myself adds an additional layer of empathy and relatability to counseling my patients that otherwise wouldn’t be there. They often greatly appreciate this and find that I am able to help in a very unique way because I “get it.” I share my story with patients because when a doctor is able to be vulnerable, they realize they are not alone and that anything is possible.

Every day, I continue to discover new and powerful ways to care for myself, mind, body, and spirit. As my practice continues to evolve, I incorporate as many of these amazing modalities as possible. I hired a mind-body medicine physician to teach yoga, meditation and other skills who has inspired many of my patients. I have a behavioral counselor who keeps us all on track. But most of all, my patients, staff and I are all just trying to be the best version of ourselves on this human journey. I still struggle regularly — as do my patients — but we all have found better ways to be in this world. And because of that, I have found this work far more gratifying than anything I could have imagined and I believe my patients are better for it.



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