— By Karol Clark, MSN,RN
Having an all-in-one customizable software solution with ongoing expert guidance can revolutionize your ability to attract new patients, more effectively help them manage their weight, streamline operations for your team, and improve overall efficiency in your weight loss practice.
In the ever-changing field of weight loss and healthcare, the days of solely focusing on providing quality patient care in a caring environment is no longer sufficient. While providing such care is of utmost importance, the expectations of both patients and the industry demand a broader skill set that includes advanced technology.
Obesity Management Trends and Challenges
Weight loss practitioners are experiencing a wide range of evolving trends and challenges. Some of these are identified below:
· Weight Loss Medications: The use of weight loss medications – particularly GLP-1 receptor agonists – is increasing due to their effectiveness in treating type 2 diabetes and well documented weight loss benefits. Besides helping to lower blood sugar levels and treat insulin resistance, they also suppress appetite and reduce calorie intake. In fact, it has been predicted that total GLP-1 users in the United States may increase to 30million by 2030 (approximately 9% of the population).1 While promising for those overweight and diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, this trend has created high demand that is difficult to keep up with due to limited access and affordability. In addition, for some patients, the positive results medication alone provides entices them to under-value the need for and long-term benefits of healthy eating, fitness and habit modification.
· Increased Competition: With the U.S. weight loss market estimated to be valued at $159.69 billion in 2021 and anticipated to reach around $305.30billion by 2030, there are many individuals and businesses interested in being a part of the solution.2 While there are many patients to serve, this trend leads to the challenge of standing out in a crowded market. This is particularly important since the obesity epidemic and recognized health issues associated with being overweight and obese often require the expertise of metabolic and obesity physician specialists and their well-trained teams.
· Fragmented Technology Solutions: The healthcare industry is experiencing a trend of fragmented technology solutions. As a result, various systems for marketing, lead tracking, patient care, delivery of patient education, patient monitoring, and telehealth operate independently, leading to a lack of seamless integration and frustration. Interoperability issues can hinder a smooth exchange of patient data and the necessity to navigate multiple interfaces, leading to inefficiencies and increased administrative workload and confusion for the patient.
What does ‘turnkey solution’ really mean?
A turnkey solution refers toa product or service that is delivered to the customer in a complete and ready-to-use form. The term ‘turnkey’ originally comes from the idea that the customer just needs to ‘turn the key’ to start using the solution, implying that it is fully assembled, configured, and operational upon delivery. In essence, the provider of the turnkey solution takes care of all the necessary components, processes, and details to deliver a functional and comprehensive product of service. In healthcare, turnkey is a wonderful thing. However, for most practitioners and their teams, a certain degree of customizability is needed and warranted for optimal functioning. Thus, this needs to be an integral part of any ‘turnkey’ system purchased and utilized – preferably without additional cost.
Necessary Components for Success
You will be much more empowered as a weight loss physician if you have streamlined system in place for lead management, care delivery, patient education, documentation, medication ordering, product inventory/tracking, diagnostic test ordering/evaluation, secure patient communication, outcome tracking, key metric measurement, and a dashboard that clearly reflects the health of your practice. Too much to ask? Not at all!
As you navigate your options, below are important and necessary components to look for in any ‘turnkey’ obesity management solution for your surgical and/or medical weight loss practice:
· Experience and Proven Track Record of Success with Obesity Management Specialists: Selecting a solution that has been successfully implemented in many similar settings with positive testimonials from other obesity management specialist users helps to ensure success in your weight loss organization as well. In addition, selecting a company with extensive experience in the industry helps to ensure optimal implementation and ability to understand your specific needs.
· Comprehensive (Standard)Features: As noted above, there are many unique aspects to obesity management that requires features not often found in software applications. Some of these features include templates specific to your patient population, the ability to track medication prescriptions/dispensing, retail sales and inventory, lead tracking, patient education, integration of meal tracking and wearable metrics, and key weight loss metrics.
· Automation with the Ability to Customize: Typically, a solution that is approximately90% set up for best practices with the ability to customize patient care pathways for your practice is ideal. In fact, such customization without any additional hidden fees is essential. Your software must serve your needs.
· Key Metric Tracking with Easy Reporting Features: With stringent industry patient outcome measurement requirements and the need to be able to determine the health of your practice at any time key metric tracking and easy reporting is critical to your success. Be sure this is a standard part of your software solution and is also customizable to your specific needs.
· Secure Personalized Communication Platform that Ensures Optimal Patient Engagement: Patients expect and desire secure communication with you and your team. This includes email, text, fax, telephone, and access to their health record. Having this possible within one system significantly improves satisfaction for you, your team, and your current and prospective patients.
· Seamless Integration with EHR/EMR if Needed: Managing multiple databases is a key frustration for many in healthcare. Inquire regarding the capability of integration so you and your team spend less time taking care of data and more time taking care of your patients.
· Outstanding Customer Support: Just as your patients desire excellent service from you, you expect the same from any outside service provider you choose to partner with. Accessibility and responsiveness cannot be understated and must be a part of your agreement.
If you are looking for a turnkey obesity management software platform for your weight loss practice, you can learn more about a leading solution that is positively impacting medical and surgical weight loss programs and practices across the United States. Simply visit https://www.pronexinc.com/ It is one of the few solutions that is inter-operable with most EMR systems and can serve as a powerful EMR as well – making it truly an all-in-one system.
About the Author: Karol Clark, MSN, RN, is a best-selling author who has a passion for helping physicians integrate effective, profitable weight loss services and retail sales into their practice while improving patient outcomes and enjoying the journey along the way. Her use of non-traditional (easy to implement) medical marketing strategies, along with her dedication to a positive ROI makes her a uniquely different and sought-after weight loss business consultant. Karol is the CEO of Weight Loss Practice Builder and the exclusive membership program for weight loss practitioners, www.BariatricBusinessAccelerator.com. She has more than 20 years of experience working with surgical and medical weight loss physicians and their teams helping them simplify creation of a profitable and enjoyable bariatric practice.