The Problem with the Bariatric Market
The Impact of the Bariatric Market on Key Stakeholders

Obesity is a significant driver of healthcare costs and negatively impacts the bariatric market. Obesity is associated with leading causes of death, including diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and some cancers and is the gateway to about 60 other health conditions. This results in health plans and systems having a higher cost of care when treating obese patients with comorbidities.  

Yet, despite the rise of the obesity epidemic and the increasing costs associated with caring for this disease, there is still a gap in care in the bariatric market. Most notably, there is a lack of a streamlined approach to bariatric care from initial engagement to post-surgery. Impact of Obesity on Health of Patient


The Problem with the Bariatric Market and the Impact on Key Stakeholders

Impact of Bariatric Market on Hospitals

The Problem for Health Systems and Hospitals

An effectively run bariatric program presents a remarkable growth opportunity for a health system. It offers high reimbursement with relatively low costs, short lengths of stay, low complication rates, and a significantly untapped patient population.

1. Ineffective Marketing and Lead Generation

Attracting bariatric leads to a program involves executing targeted digital marketing campaigns, which many health systems have not allocated these resources in a targeted approach appropriate for nurturing the bariatric patient. 

2. Patient Leakage through the Bariatric Process

Effectively engaging and nurturing patients through the bariatric process (funnel) involves frequent patient contact, and with no standardized approach to patient navigation and a lack of institutional knowledge, hospitals often experience high patient leakage and drop-out rates, which results in lost revenue and a poor patient experience.

3. Fragmented, Uncoordinated Care

Many hospital systems have multiple ways of caring for the bariatric patient, which leads to higher costs and more variability in outcomes due to a lack of shared resources. 

Impact of Bariatric Market on Insurance Plans

The Problem for Health Plans

When a patient has bariatric surgery at a well-run program, there is a lower chance of readmissions and surgical complications, along with reduced future costs associated with care for comorbidities. This enhances underwriting margins.

1. High Cost of Care

Expensive ongoing treatment for patients that have comorbidities caused by obesity.

2. Uncertainty about Standardization

Unsure how to set standards for determining who is eligible for bariatric surgery and what requirements should be imposed for a patient to proceed through to bariatric surgery.

3. Insufficient Engagement of Bariatric Patients

Although health plans can recognize potential candidates for bariatric surgery, there is currently no practical way to reach out to potential leads and recommend bariatric surgery as a treatment option for their comorbidities.

Impact of Bariatric Market on Bariatric Surgeons

The Problem for Bariatric Surgeons

Through shared resources and networking with their bariatric colleagues, weight loss surgeons can better manage their bariatric programs without reinventing the wheel. 

1. Ineffective Marketing and Lead Generation

There is uncertainty about generating leads using a method of outbound and inbound marketing campaigns that will produce an attractive ROI. 

2. Outdated and Ineffective Patient Navigation Techniques

Tracking patients through the bariatric funnel can be difficult, costly, and time-consuming, especially if they do not have the appropriate tools and human resources. 

3. Lack of Clinical Standardization

There is an ad hoc approach to staff accountability for their work and performance given the lack of reporting and tracking of staff KPI's.

Impact of Bariatric Market on Patient

The Problem for Bariatric Patients

Only about 2% of qualifying patients have bariatric surgery due to a lack of education about the procedures and surgeons in their communities, leading to a significant amount of untapped potential.

1. Unaware of the Dangers of Living with Obesity

Bariatric patients are uneducated about the effects the disease of obesity has on their overall health and life expectancy and unsure how or where to find treatment options.

2. Uncertainty About Bariatric Criteria and Credentials

In the world of information overload, bariatric patients are not sure how to differentiate among surgeons and programs, especially when selecting an experienced bariatric surgeon and a high-quality program. 

3. Extensive Process to Surgery

Lengthy, expensive, and time-consuming process to complete a bariatric surgery program's requirements, which often results in many patients dropping out of the program.

Casey Blaney
Casey is the Chief Operating Officer of Bariatric Centers of America, where she oversees client relations and manages the bariatric playbook for program acceleration. Casey graduated from the Georgia Institute of Technology with a major in Business Operations and built her career in marketing and business management. Within her career, she has had the opportunity to accelerate bariatric programs through technology-driven services and solutions. She brings an innovative approach to scaling bariatric programs and providing valuable resources in the field of weight loss surgery and weight management.
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