What if we could use the patient’s own perspectives and motivations surrounding obesity to help improve their health outcomes?

Ascertaining the Patients’ perspectives is a crucial part of understanding the impact of their obesity on them and can inform us as to how best to provide care for those affected by the disease. A recent SOPHIA publication highlights the importance of patient voices in obesity research. The study found that many patients with obesity complications do not feel heard by their primary healthcare providers, and they feel that they lack the knowledge necessary to make informed decisions about their treatment options. Additionally, they reported that they would like to have a closer interaction with their healthcare professionals to facilitate an in-depth discussion of their options to treat this complex disease.

Access and cost are prohibiting the best obesity care for patients

One of the main findings of the study was the identification of access to and costs of treatment options as key influencers on a patient’s choice of treatment. Corresponding author, Hilary C. Craig, explains:

Respondents in this study highlighted access, cost and a lack of knowledge as key factors that influence their decisions on obesity treatment. In addition, they reported the fear of side effects of treatments as well as a perception of not being heard by health care professionals as key influences in their decisions. Future solutions may include HCPs creating educational programmes and information platforms for patients to improve health literacy about the complexities of obesity and its complications as well as the expansion of obesity treatment options–with proven health economic benefits–to ensure equitable, society-wide access to disease management and support.”

How we resolve the lack of knowledge: Using the patient voice to achieve better understanding

The SOPHIA partnership aims to address these challenges by putting the patient voice at the center; an approach that has, thus far, been rare in obesity research. Patient-centric care is about putting the patient at the centre of decisions about their care, educating them on their options, allaying their fears and ensuring equitable access to appropriate healthcare. Hilary C. Craig elaborates:

“The SOPHIA research project demonstrates the value of patient centered care which is something that is lacking for people with obesity. The project enables patients to contribute, helping us to understand any factors limiting their attempts at managing their health, allows HCPs to identify any concerns they have regarding their disease and associated treatment and gives the HCPs the opportunity to discuss each patient’s case with them in detail.”

A better understanding of patient preferences may impact on treatment planning, make interventions more effective and reduce costs, ultimately creating better healthcare pathways for patients.

Are you curious about the patients’ perspective on obesity care?

Read the SOPHIA publication online here: Patient perspectives about treatment preferences for obesity with complications, or find the complete PDF via this link.

SOPHIA has received funding from the Innovative Medicines Initiatives in 2 Joint Undertaking under grant agreement No. 875534. This Joint Undertaking support from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program and EFPIA – European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations, T1D Exchange, JDRF International, and Obesity Action Coalition through the Innovative Health Initiative (IHI).