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Combining Population Health Management and Online Program Could Aid Weight Loss

by Iswarya on November 4, 2020 at 9:52 AM
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Combining Population Health Management and Online Program Could Aid Weight Loss

New study paired an online weight loss program with a phone call and email-based population health management program, a two-pronged approach previously unexplored, and discovered that patients in the combined program had greater weight loss over 12 months compared to patients in the other two groups. The findings of the study are published in the journal JAMA.

Nearly 70 percent of US adults are overweight or obesity. Though being the most immediate source of counseling for those trying to lose wt, most primary care physicians (PCPs) do not have the time, training, or support to supervising their patients through a comprehensive weight loss program. Additionally, research on online weight loss programs has witnessed mixed levels of success.


Population health management programs given by non-clinical staff members have appeared as supplemental support systems that give outreach for preventive and chronic condition care requirements outside of primary care visits.

"Population health managers are already doing outreach to people who would profit from weight loss, such as patients with type 2 diabetes or hypertension," stated corresponding author Heather Baer, ScD. "The plan was to leverage population health management, which is a strategy that's been implemented at the Brigham and in other institutions, to see if it could be combined with an online weight loss program and be sustainable over time."

In a cluster-randomized trial, 840 participants with overweight or obesity who had a scheduled primary care visit and aged 20 to 70 years, had a body mass index between 27 and less than 40, and had a diagnosis of hypertension or type 2 diabetes were selected.

Among primary care patients with overweight or obesity and hypertension or type 2 diabetes, combining population health management with an online program resulted in a modest but statistically significant greater weight loss at 12 months than usual care or the online program only. Further research is required to understand the generalizability, scalability, and durability of these findings.

The results are particularly notable as health care increasingly shifts to virtual forms amid the COVID-19 pandemic. "We knew that online weight loss programs could be more convenient, accessible, and more affordable for patients, but now both physicians and patients have become more comfortable with the concept of care being delivered virtually," Baer stated. "Virtual care is going to stay with us post-pandemic, and this study gives more evidence that even pre-pandemic, virtual care for some conditions is working."

Source: Medindia

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