Expanding telemedicine could increase access to care, reduce costs and help people with obesity remain accountable towards a treatment regimen, according to a review article published in Obesity.
Three barriers can prevent in-person obesity treatment, including:
- Limited access, particularly in rural areas
- Cost & limited insurance coverage
- Lack of adherence
Telemedicine can assist in breaking through these barriers by expanding access to care with better insurance coverage and greater likelihood of adherence. In fact, some telemedicine programs are associated with significantly greater weight loss than in-person treatment or no treatment.
The article notes that the biggest obstacle to expanded telemedicine is policy. While insurance payment for telemedicine was expanded during the COVID-19 state of emergency, this may not last beyond pandemic.