Wednesday, June 1, 2011

PCP Practice Guidelines for Obesity Treatment

Since a primary care physician (PCP) is the medical provider that most overweight or obese patients come in contact with, a set of tested weight loss clinical guidelines could improve the PCP's weight loss treatment. And the guidelines could include steps for bringing in other experts, when appropriate. These other experts might include bariatric physicians and bariatric surgeons.

Investigators at the University of Maryland established a project to create a program that could be used by PCPs to identify, evaluate, and treat obese adults. Sixty PCPs were surveyed to determine a set of clinical practice guidelines (CPGs).

A program was then developed based on the CPGs. The program was later given to 26 providers to use. After following the program, more than 70% of the providers indicated that the guidelines would improve obesity treatment. The providers also indicated that because of their use of the guidelines, the providers would be more likely to refer obese patients to a bariatric surgeon. We believe, however, that before a PCP refers a patient to a bariatric surgeon, the PCP should consult a bariatric physician. Further, we believe that the PCP guidelines should include steps for including bariatric physicians in the obesity treatment.

Since bariatric physicians are trained to treat overweight and obese individuals, these physicians can provide weight loss and weight management services that a PCP may not be equipped to provide, unless the PCP has been trained in bariatric medicine.

The American Society of Bariatric Physicians (ASBP) has established a set of practice guidelines for bariatric physicians. The guidelines include an "Initial Patient Work-up," consideration of "Medications and Other Therapeutic Modalities," and the establishment of a maintenance program.

So while obesity-treatment guidelines for PCPs are warranted, the inclusion of bariatric physicians in the overall weight loss and weight management process is worth considering in the guidelines. Overweight and obesity are enormous problems. And there are roles to play for the PCP, the bariatric physician, and the bariatric surgeon.

(Please leave a comment by clicking on the "COMMENTS" link at the lower right part of this blog post. SUBSCRIBE to this blog by scrolling to the bottom of this page and entering your email address.)



Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home

Subscribe to Overfat Strategy Blog by Email