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Patient Engagement in Remote weight management Services: An evaluation of acceptability, accessibility, and barriers, and development of a remote healthcare Screening Tool

Trial Status: Open

The proposed research evaluates patient experiences with remote (telephone and videoconferencing) weight management services (WMS) at two NHS trusts (Birmingham Community Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust and Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust). Approximately 400 patients across both trusts have accessed remote WMS within the past 12-months.

The COVID-19 pandemic meant that WMS moved to remote healthcare, in place of face-to-face. This presents an opportunity to examine how acceptable and accessible remote healthcare is for patients living with obesity. The Chief Allied Health Professions OfficerÕs team called for better use of technology in delivering healthcare. Both Trusts taking part in this evaluation agree that digital/remote delivery will be part of future service (likely combined with face-to-face options).

Whilst digital WMS presents exciting possibilities, switching to remote healthcare has not suited some patients. To provide accessible and acceptable remote healthcare to future patients living with obesity, we need to better understand who remote healthcare is most likely to help, how, and why Ð which is why we are proposing this evaluation. For example, the relationship between healthcare practitioners and patients is central in helping patients adopt healthy behaviours, so it is important to see whether remote WMS can develop and strengthen practitioner-patient relationships at least as well as face-to-face working.

This study will involve speaking to around 20 weight management patients, in individual interviews. These interviews will help us to understand what works well when they receive treatment online, and where improvements could be made, or where they need help. After doing these interviews, we will write some guidance for healthcare professionals and staff about remote weight management.