In a recent paper, Laing et al. (2014) discuss the effectiveness of an online, weight loss approach for adults in primary care. The bottom line is, the smartphone app only appeared useful to those who had already initiated efforts to reduce weight (e.g., self-monitoring dietary intake).
Two points to note:
- The result bolsters the position that novel, online approaches are better suited as adjuncts (vs. alternatives) to traditional management approaches; we shouldn’t expect that a virtual approach will replace the efforts of in-person care to motivate patients and help them to initiate and sustain healthy lifestyle changes.
- It’s important that we carefully consider the primary outcomes with which we judge the effectiveness of interventions. In the stated paper, although a portion of participants did not lose weight (primary outcome), this doesn’t mean the interventionwasn’t successful in facilitating participants’ healthy intentions!
Laing BY, Mangione CM, Tseng CH, Leng M, Vaisberg E, Mahida M, Bholat M, Glazier E, Morisky DE, Bell DS. Effectiveness of a smartphone application for weight loss compared with usual care in overweight primary care patients: A randomized controlled trial. Annals of Internal Medicine. 2014; epub ahead of print.