Effective weight-management interventions require frequent interactions with specialised multidisciplinary teams of medical, nutritional and behavioural experts. However, barriers that exist in rural areas, such as transportation and a lack of specialised services, can prevent patients from receiving quality care. We recruited patients from the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Weight & Wellness Center into a single-arm, non-randomised study of a remotely delivered 16-week evidence-based healthy lifestyle programme. Every 4 weeks, participants completed surveys that included their willingness to pay for services like those experienced in the intervention based on commute and copay. Overall, those with a travel duration of 31–45 min had a greater willingness to trade in-person visits for telehealth than any other group. Participants who had a travel duration less than 15 min, 16–30 min and 46–60 min experienced a positive trend in willingness to have telehealth visits until Week 8, where there was a general negative trend in willingness to trade in-person visits for virtual. Participants believed that telemedicine was useful and helpful. In rural areas where patients travel 30–45 min a telemedicine-delivered, intensive weight-loss intervention may be a well-received and cost-effective way for both patients and the clinical care team to connect.
Vanessa K. Rauch, Meredith Roderka, Auden C. McClure, Aaron B. Weintraub, Kevin Curtis, David F. Kotz, Richard I. Rothstein, and John A. Batsis. Willingness to pay for a telemedicine-delivered healthy lifestyle programme. Journal of Telemedicine and Telecare, June 2020. Sage. DOI: 10.1177/1357633X20943337
Few evidence-based strategies are specifically tailored for disparity populations such as rural adults. Two-way video-conferencing using telemedicine can potentially surmount geographic barriers that impede participation in high-intensity treatment programs offering frequent visits to clinic facilities. We aimed to understand barriers and facilitators of implementing a telemedicine-delivered tertiary-care, rural academic weight-loss program for the management of obesity. A single-arm study of a 16-week, weight-loss pilot evaluated barriers and facilitators to program participation, exploratory measures of program adoption, and staff confidence in implementation and intervention delivery. A program was delivered using video-conferencing within an existing clinical infrastructure. Elements of the Consolidated Framework for Implementation Research (CFIR) provided a basis for assessing intervention characteristics, inner and outer settings, and individual characteristics using surveys and semi-structured interview. Using CFIR, the intervention was valuable from a patient participant standpoint; staff equally had positive feelings about using telemedicine as useful for patient care. The RE-AIM framework demonstrated limited reach but willingness to adopt was above average. A significant barrier limiting sustainability was physical space for intervention delivery and privacy and dedicated resources for staff. Scheduling stressors were also a challenge in its implementation. The need to engage staff, enhance organizational culture, and increase reach are major factors for rural health obesity clinics to enhance sustainability of using telemedicine for the management of obesity.
John Batsis, Auden C. McClure, Aaron B. Weintraub, Diane Sette, Sivan Rotenberg, Courtney J. Stevens, Diane Gilbert-Diamond, David F. Kotz, Stephen J. Bartels, Summer B. Cook, and Richard I. Rothstein. Barriers and facilitators in implementing a pilot, pragmatic, telemedicine-delivered healthy lifestyle program for obesity management in a rural, academic obesity clinic. Implementation Science Communications 1, page Article#83 (9 pages), September 2020. BMC. DOI: 10.1186/s43058-020-00075-9
Although not specifically involving the Amulet device, John Batsis and members of the Amulet team published a recent feasibility study involving the use of wearables, like Amulet, in support of health monitoring for older adults.
John A. Batsis, Auden C. McClure, Aaron B. Weintraub, David F. Kotz, Sivan Rotenberg, Summer B. Cook, Diane Gilbert-Diamond, Kevin Curtis, Courtney J. Stevens, Diane Sette, and Richard I. Rothstein. Feasibility and acceptability of a rural, pragmatic, telemedicine-delivered healthy lifestyle programme. Obesity Science & Practice, 1-10, August 2019. DOI 10.1002/osp4.366.
Abstract: Background: The public health crisis of obesity leads to increasing morbidity that are even more profound in certain populations such as rural adults. Live, two-way video-conferencing is a modality that can potentially surmount geographic barriers and staffing shortages. Methods: Patients from the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Weight and Wellness Center were recruited into a pragmatic, single-arm, nonrandomized study of a remotely delivered 16-week evidence-based healthy lifestyle programme. Patients were provided hardware and appropriate software allowing for remote participation in all sessions, outside of the clinic setting. Our primary outcomes were feasibility and acceptability of the telemedicine intervention, as well as potential effectiveness on anthropometric and functional measures. Results: Of 62 participants approached, we enrolled 37, of which 27 completed at least 75% of the 16-week programme sessions (27% attrition). Mean age was 46.9 +/- 11.6 years (88.9% female), with a mean body mass index of 41.3 +/- 7.1 kg/m2 and mean waist circumference of 120.7 +/- 16.8 cm. Mean patient participant satisfaction regarding the telemedicine approach was favourable (4.48 +/- 0.58 on 1-5 Likert scale–low to high) and 67.6/75 on standardized questionnaire. Mean weight loss at 16 weeks was 2.22 +/- 3.18 kg representing a 2.1% change (P < .001), with a loss in waist circumference of 3.4% (P = .001). Fat mass and visceral fat were significantly lower at 16 weeks (2.9% and 12.5%; both P < .05), with marginal improvement in appendicular skeletal muscle mass (1.7%). In the 30-second sit-to-stand test, a mean improvement of 2.46 stands (P = .005) was observed. Conclusion: A telemedicine-delivered, intensive weight loss intervention is feasible, acceptable, and potentially effective in rural adults seeking weight loss.