Patients' behaviors have a substantial effect on postoperative outcomes after bariatric surgery. Thus, studying patients' behaviors is essential to learning how to optimize postoperative outcomes. To be most effective, this research should use the best tools available for assessing patient behavior. However, the traditional methods of behavioral assessment (e.g., questionnaires and clinical interviews) rely primarily on patients' retrospective self-report, which is often inaccurate. Despite their significant shortcomings, these types of assessments continue to predominate. However, technological advances now allow for much greater accuracy in the assessment of patient behaviors by way of devices, such as accelerometers and palmtop computers. Accelerometers allow for patients' physical activity to be measured objectively in great detail, in real-time, in the patients' natural environment. Ecologic momentary assessment using a palmtop computer or mobile telephone allows the assessment of important behaviors, such as eating and activity behaviors, to be measured, with many of the same advantages. Furthermore, new computer-assisted technologies are in development that will further facilitate behavioral assessment. Technology also has the potential to play an important role in the delivery of behavioral interventions aimed at bariatric surgery patients, given that Internet-based treatments have already proved effective for nonoperative weight loss and are often highly cost-effective and easily disseminable. Future research should evaluate the efficacy of these programs for bariatric patients.
Copyright © 2011 American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.