NASHVILLE, Tenn. — With the development of a module and toolkit for obesity medicine, the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists (AACE) have handed endocrinologists several new ways to reconfigure their practices to better manage obesity.
The module and toolkit, which were introduced during a special session at the AACE 24th Annual Scientific & Clinical Congress, are designed to help all clinicians initiate obesity care in their practices.
“We have challenges and a lot of headwinds against us in performing obesity medicine. These include a need to outfit the office in a way to handle obesity medicine and all of its challenges,” said W. Timothy Garvey, MD, who is the chair of the AACE Obesity Scientific Committee.
“It is targeted to those health care professionals who want to increase obesity management in their practice, but are not sure how to get there. It can help with logistics on how to set up your office and special equipment and supplies you may need.”
Overcoming Hurdles in Obesity Medicine
Many clinicians are not sure how they can counsel patients and provide a multidisciplinary team approach to obesity medicine while also making it work financially, according to Garvey. He noted that there is also a reluctance to address obesity because the medicines in the past have been unsuccessful. However, that is no longer the case.
“We now have new obesity agents that work,” said Garvey. “This is one of the headwinds. In the past, some agents weren’t successful and because some of the medicines used in the past didn’t work out, that has been an issue.”
In 2012, AACE declared that obesity is a disease, citing abundant clinical evidence that identifies obesity as a hormone-based disease state, producing signs, symptoms and morbidity that satisfies the American Medical Association’s established definition of a disease.
Components of the obesity module, which is based on the Obesity Algorithm that is part of the AACE/ACE Comprehensive Diabetes Management Algorithm and the Advanced Framework for a New Diagnosis of Obesity, include preparing the clinician’s office for the specific needs of patients with obesity.
The components also address approaches for discussing obesity as a disease with patients as well as the anthropometric and clinical component of the diagnosis using BMI and waist circumference.
“We have new tools to bring to the table to treat patients with obesity and they are tools in each of the different treatment modalities. Lifestyle modification can be effective, and furthermore, we know that if there is a component of the intervention plan that is office-based, then it is more effective,” Garvey said in an interview with Endocrinology Advisor.
“We have new important medications. We know when you treat obesity and you add a medication to lifestyle modification you can achieve a greater weight loss and a weight loss that is sustained for a longer period of time.”