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Guidance for obesity care

New reports provide guidance for obesity care

The competencies can be applied to the assessment of learners within a training program, or assessment of existing or planned curricula

Advocates for obesity prevention and treatment have designed two new resources for medical educators, healthcare providers and community programmes that will enhance the level of care for patients, according to two new studies published in Obesity, the journal of The Obesity Society. The resources include the first set of competencies for how to care for patients with obesity for undergraduate and graduate medical education, and a proposed standard of care for people with obesity.

The paper, ‘A Proposed Standard of Obesity Care for All Providers and Payers’, includes 32 obesity-focused competencies to improve obesity medicine education in medical schools and for advanced healthcare providers. The competencies can be applied to the assessment of learners within a training program, or assessment of existing or planned curricula. The competencies can also be used in the assessment of non-training educational environments.

The Obesity Medicine Education Collaborative (OMEC), an intersociety initiative that includes The Obesity Society (TOS), used the Six Core Domain Competencies of the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education as a guiding framework. The core domains used and the number of competencies for each domain include Practice-Based Learning and Improvement (5); Patient Care and Procedural Skills (5); System-Based Practice (4); Medical Knowledge (13); Interpersonal and Communication Skills (3); and Professionalism (2) for a total of 32 competencies.

"A major challenge facing medical educators today is adequately training current and future health care providers in the prevention and treatment of obesity," said the study's lead author, Dr Robert Kushner, past president of TOS and professor of medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago. "The OMEC obesity-focused competencies provide the framework to improve provider education and thus also improve patient care in the treatment of obesity."

Competency-based medical education focuses on the core knowledge and a set of skills that a health professional needs, yet effective and evidence-based obesity care occurs in a variety of settings, including the community and within the health care delivery system. The proposed standard of care for adults with obesity, developed by the Strategies to Overcome and Prevent (STOP) Obesity Alliance, provides health professionals, payors, community organizations, policymakers and those affected by obesity with guidance on foundational components of evidence-based obesity care.

"Our goal was to develop a practical, tangible, measurable and simple standard of care for the treatment of adult obesity, across care settings and representing practices that positively impact the health of people impacted by obesity," said the study's lead author, William H Dietz, Director of the STOP Obesity Alliance. "The core principles governing the standard of care include shared decision-making, when to use adjunctive therapies, and when to move patients to higher intensity treatments, as well as providing assurance that patients have access to appropriate levels of care, regardless of when they enter the healthcare system."

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