How to Avoid Major Pitfalls Associated with Bariatric Patient Pipeline & Ongoing Continuum of Care

The value of your bariatric practice’s efforts to effectively move patients through the continuum of care pipeline is a complex process. What used to be something so simple has been layered with a myriad of qualifying steps and procedures — which include various mediums [online & offline interactions].

As patient consumers become more tech savvy, their online shopping & researching capability transcends into healthcare. These digital efforts can amplify your clinic’s brand as well as raise awareness about your upcoming events, and educate your patient population.

With all of that being said, a number of different roadblocks come up that can either prohibit a patient from getting the bariatric treatment necessary or get lost in the care continuum phase.

Roadblock # 1: Inability to Leverage Your Website.

With 80 percent of internet users looking for health information online, 66 percent of those users are looking for information on diseases and current conditions. Opportunities are missed when you don’t take advantage of your online real estate by using it to host blogs, videos and other information that is useful for the patient.

Creating a wealth of information through interactive learning guides, videos, tips and message boards for your patients to interact with other advocates or resources in the community could elevate the positioning and trust with your brand.

Instead, when a patient arrives at your clinic or hospital’s website, imagine if they were able to quickly and easily locate information.

Roadblock # 2: Insufficient Tracking Mechanisms

Marketing without measuring effectiveness and results is similar to gambling. You could win every now and again, however, it’s mainly pure luck and not repeatable. Create a reliable, real-time system that quantifies results as a comparison to goals. Tracking is the only way to know Return-on-Investment, what’s working, make adjustments, and measure meaningful results.

Too often practices attempt to manage patient pipeline on excel spreadsheets and often times lose track of patients. This happens on the front end while they wait for certain qualifying tests to be completed or PCP exams to take place. Patients can get lost in the shuffle and a poor patient experience follows.

Roadblock # 3: Utilizing Your EMR as Patient Relationship Management Tool

Ushering the bariatric patient from recruitment to long term follow up is not a simple set of tasks. All too often bariatrics placed patients in a linear path towards treatment. With all due respect, I disagree. It’s not a linear process because there are so many moving parts to keep track of.

Let’s agree that regardless of what practice you work in there are two points in time that are constant. The patient point of contact and the point where long term follow up begins.

The majority of practices use their EMR to manage this entire process. An EMR is a digital version of a paper chart that contains all of a patient’s medical history from one practice. In most cases, an EMR is used by provider for diagnosis and treatment.

It isn’t a surprise then that in a survey we conducted the top three pain points that came up were challenges with extracting data from EMR and having to toggle back and forth [wasting so much time] to effectively manage patient pipeline.

Because the bariatric road is constantly under construction, you might miss an opportunity to cultivate a truly engaged patient audience. For example, when you attempt to use an EMR as a PRM [Patient Relationship Management Tool].

Simply put, using an EMR as a PRM would be as if you went to use your road vehicle as a boat. Very few cars [only amphibious vehicles] can actually operate in both environments. So why is it that so many choose to take their vehicles and submerge them in water thinking that they’ll stay afloat?

It’s actually quite simple. Expectations have been completely mismanaged with technology capabilities.
And it’s resulted in a long line of upset clinicians, bariatric coordinators and advocates.