Actionable ideas providers can implement now
Create a better patient.
As a provider, you’re more aware than most about the devastating effects of obesity and loss of mobility—both in terms of patient suffering and the high cost of care. You are in a unique position to help create a “better patient,” understanding their personal health conditions and how to help.
You might also be aware that unconscious bias can be operative in medical practice. The good news is that you can be a part of the solution in simpler ways than you might think. Join the conversation by following the steps below.
1. Share the Start Moving Start Living documentary with patients and colleagues.
Direct individuals to view the trailer (3 minutes) or full-length film (22 minutes) at www.startmovingstartliving.com/video. Share the link via your hospital or clinic’s social media platforms, outreach department, newsletter, or in-office bulletin board. You can run the video for your patients in your office waiting room or key locations in the hospital.
2. Talk about the importance of movement.
Whether it’s walking, swimming, or dancing (Zumba, Salsa, etc.), encourage patients to get active. Avoid using the word “exercise,” as this can sound difficult and intimidating. Be sure to emphasize that movement is actually therapy for joint pain and arthritis.
3. Have the difficult conversation about obesity.
The proven links between obesity and its effect on co-morbidities (type 2 diabetes, heart disease) are many, and patients need to be aware—even if they don’t want to hear it.
Learn successful strategies to breach this complex topic: http://win.niddk.nih.gov/publications/PDFs/TalkingWPAWL.pdf
4. Explain the link between obesity, movement, and co-morbidities.
Share this visual aid to help explain how health and mobility are connected.
Breaking the Vicious Cycle
5. Ask yourself: Am I providing the same care to all patients?
Sometimes your unconscious biases get in the way of providing the best care for all your patients—whether based on weight, beauty, race, gender, or other factors. You might not even be aware of it. Learn more about this bias in Dr. Cornelia Borkhoff’s article, “Patient Gender Affects the Referral and Recommendation for Total Joint Arthroplasty,” here: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3111793/.
Test your unconscious biases by taking Harvard’s Project Implicit Social Attitudes test: https://implicit.harvard.edu/implicit/. Then consider how your results might affect your patient care.
Another excellent resource is Seeing Patients: Unconscious Bias in Health Care, a book by Augustus A. White, III, MD – with David Chanoff.
6. Be the good example your patients need.
Support movement events in your community, such as the American Heart Walk. Be a visible advocate for movement in your workplace, church, neighborhood, or city. Reach out to like-minded individuals and organizations who might be able to partner with you on healthy activities.
7. Stay up-to-date with the latest mobility issues.
Visit our Blog often to keep abreast of the latest trends in mobility and related health issues.