Bariatric surgery is a potentially life-changing procedure that can help ward off chronic illnesses like diabetes and heart disease. But going through the surgery it is only part of the journey. Achieving and maintaining a healthy weight after surgery usually depends on adopting healthier eating and physical activity habits in the long term.
After someone has bariatric surgery, they often need a more intense level of lifestyle support than is possible in routine clinical care.
We all know that’s easier said than done. But with the recent boom in mobile-health technologies such as activity trackers, lifestyle support for patients who’ve had bariatric surgery is moving in a whole new direction.
High-touch, low-cost: The potential of mobile-health technology
Research has shown that increasing physical activity, adopting healthier eating habits, and weighing oneself regularly can help people keep weight off after bariatric surgery. So providers are looking for ways to best support patients in adopting these healthy behaviors.
Mobile devices and trackers hold great promise for delivering timely behavior change support at a cost that is far below what could be achieved through traditional phone or in-person programs. They have the potential to provide more practical and effective ways to help our patients keep moving toward their weight-loss goals.
A step further: Daily, personalized support that’s integrated into clinical care
Mobile-health technologies like activity trackers and smart scales are widely available, we take it a step further by using the data from those tools in clinical reports we can review with our patients in their follow-up visits. This helps us identify the challenges they may be having with maintaining their weight loss and the steps we can take to help them reach their goals.
Data from the activity tracker and smart scale will also inform daily personalized text messages from the patient’s care team. The messages will provide personalized activity goals and reinforce healthy habits like calorie counting, physical activity, healthy eating, and regular weighing.
Mobile-health technologies offer a new way to support healthy behaviors away from the clinic, but it’s important that they be integrated with a patient’s clinical care.