PATHWEIGH, pragmatic weight management in adult patients in primary care in Colorado, USA: study protocol for a stepped wedge cluster randomized trial

Trials. 2022 Jan 10;23(1):26. doi: 10.1186/s13063-021-05954-7.


Background: Despite the overwhelming prevalence and health implications of obesity, it is rarely adequately addressed in a health care setting. PATHWEIGH is a pragmatic approach to weight management that uses tools built into the electronic medical record to overcome barriers and guide care. Implementation strategies are employed to facilitate adoption and use of the PATHWEIGH tools and processes. The current study will compare the effectiveness of PATHWEIGH versus standard of care (SOC) on patient weight loss in primary care and explore factors for its successful implementation.

Methods: A stepped wedge cluster randomized trial design will be used within an effectiveness-implementation hybrid study. Adult patient weight loss and weight loss maintenance will be compared in PATHWEIGH versus SOC in 57 family and internal medicine clinics in a large health system in Colorado, USA. Effectiveness will be evaluated using generalized linear mixed models to determine statistical differences in weight loss and weight loss maintenance at 6, 12, and 18 months. Patient-, provider-, and clinic-level predictors will be identified using mediator and moderator analyses. Conceptually guided by the Practical, Robust, Implementation and Sustainability Model (PRISM), a mixed methods approach including quantitative (practice surveys, use tracking) and qualitative (interviews, observations) data collection will be used to determine factors impeding and facilitating adoption, implementation, and maintenance of PATHWEIGH and evaluate specified implementation strategies. A cost analysis of the practice and system costs and resources required by PATHWEIGH relative to the reimbursement collected will be performed.

Discussion: The effectiveness and implementation of PATHWEIGH, and their interrelatedness, for patient weight loss are collectively the focus of the current trial. Findings from this study are expected to serve as a blueprint for available and effective weight management in primary care medical practice.

Trial registration: NCT04678752 . Registered on December 21, 2020.

Keywords: Cluster randomized trial; Mixed methods; PRISM; Pragmatic trial; RE-AIM; Stepped wedge; Weight loss.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial Protocol

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Colorado
  • Humans
  • Nutrition Therapy*
  • Primary Health Care*
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic

Associated data