Needs Assessment for Weight Management: The Learning Health System Network Experience

Mayo Clin Proc Innov Qual Outcomes. 2018 Sep 28;2(4):324-335. doi: 10.1016/j.mayocpiqo.2018.08.001. eCollection 2018 Dec.


Objective: To assess patients' weight management needs and experiences across multiple sites within the Learning Health System Network.

Patients and methods: A total of 19,964 surveys were sent to patients identified with overweight or obesity through medical record query at 5 health care systems throughout 11 states. The survey collected patients' experiences with and opinions about weight management in clinical care from October 27, 2017, through March 1, 2018.

Results: Among the 2380 responders, being younger, female, nonwhite, and single and having some college education or less were all significantly associated with higher body mass index (BMI). The most frequent weight loss barriers included food cravings (30.7%-49.9%) and having a medical condition limiting physical activity (17.7%-47.1%) (P<.001). Higher BMI was associated with a higher frequency of comorbidities and lower health status (P<.001). Higher BMI was also associated with a higher belief that primary care providers (PCPs) should be involved in weight loss management (P=.01) but lower belief that the PCP had the necessary skills and knowledge to help (P<.001). Responders with a higher BMI were more likely to feel judged (P<.001) and not always respected (P<.001) by their PCP. In addition, those with a higher BMI more frequently reported avoiding health care visits because of weight gain, not wanting to undress or be weighed, and not wanting to discuss their weight with their PCP (P<.001).

Conclusion: Physician involvement in weight management is important to patients whose needs and experiences differ by BMI. These data may inform clinical weight management efforts and create greater alignment with patient expectations.

Keywords: BMI, body mass index; CDM, common data model; IRB, institutional review board; LHSNet, Learning Health System Network; OR, odds ratio; PCP, primary care provider.