A platform for population-based weight management: description of a health plan-based integrated systems approach
- View All
OBJECTIVES: To describe an integrated, operational platform from which mail- and telephone-based health promotion programs are implemented and to specifically relate this approach to weight management programming in a managed care setting. APPROACH: In-depth description of essential systems structures, including people, computer technology, and decision-support protocols. The roles of support staff, counselors, a librarian, and a manager in delivering a weight management program are described. Information availability using computer technology is a critical component in making this system effective and is presented according to its architectural layout and design. Protocols support counselors and administrative support staff in decision making, and a detailed flowchart presents the layout of this part of the system. This platform is described in the context of a weight management program, and we present baseline characteristics of 1801 participants, their behaviors, self-reported medical conditions, and initial pattern of enrollment in the various treatment options. CONCLUSION: Considering the prevalence and upward trend of overweight and obesity in the United States, a need exists for robust intervention platforms that can systematically support multiple types of programs. Weight management interventions implemented using this platform are scalable to the population level and are sustainable over time despite the limits of defined resources and budgets. The present article describes an innovative approach to reaching a large population with effective programs in an integrated, coordinated, and systematic manner. This comprehensive, robust platform represents an example of how obesity prevention and treatment research may be translated into the applied setting.