Telemedicine Helps Patients Meet Weight Loss Goals
According to the findings of a recent study in the Journal of Telemedicine and Telecare, patients who received regular support from an online telemedicine platform lost more weight than those who followed the same nutrition and activity guidelines, but did not receive any telemedical interventions.
“Our findings suggest that health coaching using a telemedicine-based weight loss program may be effective at reducing clinically significant body weight (more than 5 percent) in obese adults,” authors of the study wrote. “The current weight loss program combines three key elements shown to improve weight loss outcomes: a low-calorie diet with a preference for low glycemic carbohydrates, physical activity monitoring, and support for behavior change through a multi-disciplinary approach to treatment.”
Although patients in each group received the same weight-loss plans and tools to monitor their progress, the intervention group was also given access to an online educational platform and a weekly video session with a dietitian.
Everyone in the study participated in a 12-week telemedicine-based weight loss program. All participants got an accelerometer, a blood pressure monitor and a body composition scale. The devices gave participants in both groups real-time feedback. All participants downloaded the Amwell video conferencing app. At the beginning of the study a doctor gave every participant a caloric deficit diet to induce body weight loss of between one and two pounds a week.
Researchers believe that the extra feedback provided by the virtual visits was beneficial because it helped patients better understand their own progress while providing extra motivation to stay on-track with stated weight loss goals.
“The action of logging health-related information into the application including food choices, weight, and/or exercise duration provides instantaneous feedback for the user,” authors of the study wrote. “However, without direct feedback from a health care provider, self-monitoring is not often enough to promote long-term engagement or change. This was shown in the present study. Participants in the [control] group were provided the same Bluetooth devices, dietary recommendation, and applications. Participants in the intervention group lost significantly more total body weight and increased their average steps per week, in comparison to the control group. Our study suggests that the high engagement of the group with their health coach contributed to this difference.”