Saturday, February 18, 2017

Diet Plus Exercise Is Likely the Best Weight Loss Approach for Most People

The approaches to weight loss are diet, exercise, lifestyle modification, anti-obesity medications, and bariatric surgery. And studies have shown that an approach that might work for one person may not work for another. Still, a restricted calorie diet plus purposeful exercise will likely work for most obese persons if the diet and exercise program is diligently adhered to.

A recent study suggested that obesity should be viewed the way cancer is viewed -- as many different forms. One expert suggested that there may be as many as 59 types of obesity. And because there are so many types of obesity, like cancer, no single approach to weight loss will work for all forms of obesity.

This holds true for anti-obesity drugs. Currently there are five anti-obesity drugs on the market that have been given FDA approval for long-term use. These drugs are Orlistat (Xenical and Alli), Qsymia (Phentermine plus Topiramate), Contrave (Naltrexone plus Bupropion), Saxenda and Belviq (lorcaserin). But experts indicate that no anti-obesity drug will lead to weight loss for everyone. And even when a weight loss drug does lead to weight loss, the drug might cause severe side effects.

However, it does appear that diet and exercise can work for most people. And even when diet and exercise don't lead to long-term weight loss, it is almost always a key part of an ongoing weight loss or weight management program. By diet, we mean a healthy, calorie restricted diet. And by exercise, we mean scheduled purposeful exercise. A recent study suggests that subjects who reduced their calorie intake by 40% and engaged in traditional exercise plus high intensity training (HIT) all lost weight.

Therefore, the importance of diet and exercise should never be ignored. Indeed, it should always be emphasized. And weight loss providers should look at different diet and exercise approaches, so that the providers can offer their patients different options for weight loss and weight maintenance.

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Monday, February 13, 2017

The Benefits of EHR Patient Portals

EHRs or electronic health record systems are becoming more embedded in healthcare organizations. They are becoming more embedded, to a great extent because of heavy government encouragement and possible penalties. EHRs are useful for collecting healthcare related information, so that a provider can more readily have access to the information. This access can enable a provider to make better treatment decisions. An important element of many EHRs is the patient portal. A patient portal improves the interaction between the provider and the patient.

The patient portal gives the patient access to elements of his or her health record via the internet.  These elements include medications, lab results, and allergy information. And some portals allow patients to make appointments, and download forms to be filled out.

These forms can be important in the treatment of patients. And having the patient fill out forms before coming into the provider's office can be more efficient than having the patient fill out the forms while in the provider's office. And the information gleaned from the forms by the provider can improve patient treatment.

In one diabetes study it was found that "questionnaires are useful to assess lifestyle, habits, and highlight risk factors ..." Questionnaires can be especially helpful to obesity medicine providers, particularly questionnaires that ask about the medical history of an obese patient.
Items on the "obesity related" form should include questions about weight history, nutritional history, medical history, social history, and family history. Asking the appropriate questions can improve the patient's prognosis for weight loss and weight maintenance.

So EHRs can be beneficial in a healthcare organization. Patient portals, as a part of the EHR, can be important because they allow the patient to keep abreast of his or her health history. And the portals give providers a way to obtain health-related information that the provider can use to improve patient treatment.
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