Obesity is an epidemic that has increased dramatically over the past 50 years in the United Stales, A disproportionate number of obese patients are admitted to hospitals, largely because of diseases associated with or worsened by their weight. There have not been any empiric studies that have assessed whether hospitalists recognize obesity in their patients. We performed a needs assessment to determine the extent to which hospitalist providers recognize and intervene on obese patients in the hospital setting. Our study also aimed to identify patient and provider characteristics that may affect the recognition of obesity among in patients on general medicine wards.
This was an observational cohort study conducted at an academic center. A total of 276 patient charts, where the provider was a hospitalist, were included in the study. The charts were reviewed for documentation of obesity, documentation of an intervention for obesity, or implementation of recommendations made for the treatment of obesity. Demographic data for the patients and hospitalist providers was also collected. Providers were also surveyed about their documentation practices related to obesity and perceived barriers to intervening on obesity.
Forty‐nine percent of admitted patients (136 of 276) were obese. Obesity was documented in 19% of admission notes (26 of 136). and a discrete plan was made to address obesity 7% of the time (10 of 136). Hospitalists were more likely to document obesity in patients < 60 years old (85% versus 55%, respectively, P < 0.007), and in patients with a body mass index (BMI) ≥ 35 (77% versus 44%, respectively, P < 0.004). Provider survey results suggest that providers do not document obesity because it is not considered to be an acute issue (67%). They elect not to address obesity because they lack the time (63%) and the skill (37%) and believe that their efforts will be unsuccessful (33%).
Documentation and assessment of obesity by hospitalists are poor. The in patient setting is an untapped opportunity to educate and intervene on an ever‐expanding population of obese patients. Because patients are most susceptible to meaningful change following an acute event, the inpatient setting may be the ideal time to focus on weight management and hospitalists may be the ideal providers to initiate the therapeutic plan.
E. Howe, Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center, employment; S. Wright, Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center, employment; R. Landis, Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center, employment; F. Kisuule, Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center, employment.
To cite this abstract:Howe E, Wright S, Landis R, Kisuule F. Documentation of Obesity by Hospitalist Providers in the Inpatient Setting. Abstract published at Hospital Medicine 2010, April 8-11, Washington, D.C. Abstract 68. Journal of Hospital Medicine. 2010; 5 (suppl 1). https://www.shmabstracts.com/abstract/documentation-of-obesity-by-hospitalist-providers-in-the-inpatient-setting/. Accessed July 21, 2019.