The key to successfully managing patient expectations is accurate foreshadowing. As a provider your job is to guide patients towards good health. Good health in the world of Obesity medicine means reducing body fat levels to 20% in men and 25% in women. Getting to these levels is a process and Doctor’s must lead patients through it. The only way to lead a patient is by having credibility. Credibility can be built through telling patients what they will experience ahead of time. Physicians should anticipate patient experiences, feelings, and questions to address them ahead of time. Doing so makes the patients believe that they can trust their health care provider. The more times a provider can be right (even about small things), the more credibility exists. Credibility leads patients to be compliant and open to successful treatment. Here are a few different things you could anticipate in order to gain credibility with your patients:
1. Side effects
Every treatment plan has side effects. It is important to communicate these side effects to patients before they occur. Preparation will result in less panic about side effects. The Mindful Living E-Book does a great job summarizing the possible side effects associated with it. The book also shares possible remedies for each side effect.
Let your patients know from the start that their first week’s weight loss will be greater due to water weight. After that let them know they will consistently lose weight, until they do not. Tell them it is natural for weight-loss to eventually slow down and plateau. If you tell them ahead of time, they will be less emotional about the plateau and ready to make any necessary changes.
3. Adjustments to care
As people progress and start to lose weight, their body changes. Meaning it has different needs compared to before the weight was lost. In other words, macros change. Increasing protein intake due to physical activity is one example of a macro change. Another one could be cutting carbs to overcome a plateau. Whatever it may be, it’s important to tell the patients changes are normal ahead of time.
Be clear and communicate your fee structure with your patients. Do not try to deceive them or trick them as that will ruin your credibility. If fees are going to increase, tell them. The more honest you are, the better.