Long before I was a Board Certified Family Medicine physician involved with Obesity Medicine, I was a Teaching Fellow and Performing Arts Consultant working for the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in their Very Special Arts Program. I had an assignment to travel to a remote and rural area of Vermont to do a week long workshop for a local school district, working with classroom teachers, physical education teachers and administrators on how to integrate dance into the classroom and how to integrate movement into the academic curriculum.
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.
Physicians want real and long-lasting solutions for their patients’ obesity. In this quick-fix culture, it can be hard to sift through the bait and switch diets that promise quick results without lasting impact. Quick weight loss is a great benefit to patients, especially those with chronic obesity-related conditions, but it is only truly effective if the weight loss is maintained. A Very Low Calorie Diet (VLCD) combines behavior modification and nutrition education to provide rapid, medically-supervised weight loss with long-lasting results. It is the education and patient empowerment provided to patients on a VLCD that is paramount to long-term success.
If you aren’t practicing obesity treatment in your health practice, you may be ignoring a huge elephant in the room. Physicians can sometimes be hesitant to open that door because of many reasons: lack of knowledge on how to implement weight loss; not having enough time or resources; or maybe you have been so busy treating other chronic conditions that you haven’t even considered obesity treatment or that it could actually be the cause of many of your patients’ ailments.
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
When discussing weight, there’s a disconnection between the dieter and healthcare provider. Many providers find it difficult to even broach the subject, despite the escalating rise in the disease its related chronic conditions. It would seem that the importance of obesity education is more important than ever. However, the lack of obesity education in medical training is alarming.
According to a recent study conducted by Northwestern Medicine, licensing exams for medical students have a “surprisingly low” amount of questions in regards to obesity prevention and treatment. Why is this problematic?
“It’s a trickle-down effect,” said lead study author Dr. Robert Kushner. “If it’s not being tested, it won’t be taught as robustly as it should be.” Putting a finer point on it, “The inadequate testing means medical schools have less incentive to provide obesity education in their curriculum, and students have less incentive to learn about it.”
So what’s being done to remedy the situation? For starters, the National Board of Medical Examiners (NMBE) requested that a panel — the same panel of six obesity medicine specialists that reviewed test items from several United States Medical Licensing Examinations to perform the study — identified which topics weren’t adequately covered on the exams in relation to obesity. The panel also suggested that development committees consisting of obesity experts be established in order to begin adding obesity-related elements these exams.
However, something does need to be done in the intermediate. Updates to these exams will benefit future healthcare providers and their patients, but obesity is an intensifying epidemic that needs more immediate, contemporary solutions. As a provider, if treating obesity isn’t or wasn’t one of your primary objectives, maybe it’s time to change that.
Source: Northwestern University
Blog written by Marcus Miller/Robard Corporation
There has been growing evidence
that weight-based stigma can contribute to negative health outcomes in
overweight and obese individuals. A new study looked closely at how
those struggling with obesity have internalized weight-based stigma and
shame, and how such feelings increase health risks, specifically
metabolic syndrome — a cluster of risk factors that increase the
likelihood of stroke, diabetes, heart disease, and other health problems.
participants in the study were a part of a larger weight loss study in
which they completed the Weight Bias Internalization Scale — a measure
of the extent to which individuals apply weight stereotypes to
themselves. Subjects also completed a questionnaire which the team used
to determine participants' criteria for depression and metabolic
The study ultimately found that those with high levels of internalized weight bias were found to be at a three times greater risk of metabolic syndrome.
Subjects with high weight bias internalization were also six times more
likely to have high triglyceride levels, which can lead to
atherosclerosis, which is a buildup of fatty substances in the wall of
the arteries that can raise the risk of heart attack and stroke.
act of self-stigmatizing may lead to a state of physiological arousal
that itself increases risk for metabolic abnormalities through
biological pathways (e.g., cortisol secretion),” the study authors
explain. “This state of physiological and affective stress may also lead
individuals to cope by eating unhealthy food or binge eating."
more than ever, multidisciplinary efforts in healthcare are essential
to effectively supporting patients to achieve a healthy weight. The
authors note that, “Providers can play a critical role in decreasing
this internalization by treating patients with respect, discussing
weight with sensitivity and without judgment, and giving support and
encouragement to patients who struggle with weight management.”
If you are a provider that is new to weight loss, and are unsure about how to sensitively approach weight with your patients, learn more
about how you can access Robard’s complimentary educational tools that
teach you how to get the conversation started. For dieters who struggle
with internalized stigma, try these tips and affirmations to help you develop more positive body image through your weight loss journey.
Source: Medical News Today
Blog written by Vanessa Ramalho/Robard Corporation
Remember, at Robard, we invest in long-term relationships with each and every customer. For existing customers, reach out to your Territory Sales Manager today at (800) 222-9201 to learn how we can help you review 2016, establish 2017 goals, and position your business for unparalleled success.
If you’re interested in learning more about Robard’s obesity treatment programs, products and services, please click here.
Blog written by Lynda Lewis/Robard Corporation
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