All too often, people try to figure out how to handle or maintain their weight loss on their own. They don’t necessarily try talking to their general practitioner, or when they do, it’s sporadically. They might see separate people at different points in their journey in order to address different issues: a nutritionist here, a personal trainer there, then perhaps a stint with a popular weight loss group that seems to work for everyone else except for them. There’s no consistent thread of physiological, medicinal, or nutritional care because each professional has only their own information to work from.
If this sounds like you, you should know that medical science is rediscovering the importance of continuity of care.
What Proper Continuity of Care Looks Like
Continuity of care refers to the process of seeing the same doctor regularly throughout your life. It’s very close to the traditional concept of the family doctor – the practice that treated your parents treats you and your children after you, establishing close ties and first-hand knowledge of your family history. Given the ultra-mobility of modern life, that type of family doctor is unlikely for most people now. In fact, if you find yourself traveling or even moving often, just seeing the same doctor may seem like a luxury. However, sticking with one doctor rather than bouncing around between different ones offers the same sorts of health benefits.
The Correlation of Continuity of Care and Better Health Is Strong
Numerous studies have drawn a link between continuity of healthcare and good health or longer life, especially with regards to a primary care doctor. In 2017, a study published in the medical journal BMJ Open further solidified this link.
By reviewing 27 major studies from 9 different countries, each with their own systems of medical care, the research team was able to evaluate the connection as a big picture. More than 80% of the studies indicated that regular contact with the same doctor resulted in fewer deaths.
While the exact reasons are unknown, there are a variety of factors that support the continuity of care process:
- Establishing the doctor’s familiarity of the patient’s broader experiences and family history.
- Building trust between the doctor and the patient, removing barriers like uncertainty or embarrassment that typically cause patients to hesitate about sharing information.
- Lowered health system costs and speedier care thanks to that familiarity and trust.
- Improved patient satisfaction with their care.
The researchers were also keen to note that continuity of care isn’t just important for your general doctor. You will benefit when you choose the same medical professional for specific care, no matter what type of specialist you need (e.g., nutritionist, surgeon, psychiatrist, podiatrist). It improves all of your care because there is a cohesive picture of your health.
Why This Matters for Weight Loss
Your weight loss plan is no different than other approaches to keeping you safe, happy, and healthy. Seeing the same professionals – especially medical professionals – for each of your questions, concerns, and check-ins will establish a partnership between you and them. You’ll grow to trust them with your insecurities and hang-ups, allowing you to work together to find real, lasting solutions based on your unique situation. The more you can integrate your nutrition, exercise, and physical/mental health care, the easier maintaining your weight loss for a lifetime becomes.
Losing weight and maintaining weight loss isn’t always easy, especially if you’ve been discouraged in the past by one failed diet or exercise routine after another. Fortunately, medical assistance and professional support is easily accessible. Be sure to read up on our medical weight loss program, and bear in mind the fact that continuity of care is built in. We’ll be with you every step of the way, assisting with your diet, exercise regimen, medication, and more.