Happenings: Focus on PaTH Patient Perspectives in the PCORnet Bariatric Study

The PCORnet Bariatric Study (PBS) will track the benefits and risks of three common bariatric procedures to help patients and care providers make more informed decisions about bariatric surgery. The study will focus on outcomes that are important to adults and adolescents who have severe obesity, including changes in weight, remission and relapse of diabetes, and risk of major adverse events. PBS involves 11 Clinical Research Networks within PCORnet, including all of the PaTH sites.

The PBS hopes to better understand the trends that these analyses will reveal by learning about patients’ and clinicians’ perspectives on bariatric surgery. For instance, Geisinger and Pitt will each conduct a focus group to identify patient preferences and opinions about whether to undergo bariatric surgery, which bariatric procedure to have, and how they obtain follow-up care after surgery. Participants will also be asked to share advice for others considering bariatric surgery. The same set of questions will be posed to patients at different PBS sites around the country. Their input will help researchers better understand why patients choose to have surgery, how they decide which procedure to undergo, and how their post-surgery experiences can be improved.

Interviews with bariatric surgeons will also be carried out, led by the University of Pittsburgh site. These interviews will focus on how bariatric surgeons make decisions about surgical procedures and what factors play into their recommendations for which procedure may be right for which patient. The surgeons will also be asked to discuss how they organize care for patients after surgery. Researchers hope the information gained from these interviews will help improve decision-making, follow-up rates, and long-term outcomes surrounding bariatric procedures.

Geisinger held one of the first patient focus groups for the national PBS study in April, and it was led by site Project Manager Ilene Ladd. Ladd has undergone training to moderate focus groups and is experienced in this role. She says the focus group went well and consisted of 10 adult patients who underwent bariatric surgery at least 48 months ago.

Michelle Lent, Ph.D., the clinician-investigator leading the PBS project for Geisinger, says Geisinger’s low "move out" rate is particularly beneficial to the study.

"The majority of Geisinger’s bariatric surgery patients remain in the area and active in our health system postoperatively. Therefore, we are able to monitor their health and their weight loss progress after bariatric surgery in the long-term."

The PCORnet Bariatric Study is one of the first observational studies to come from PCORnet. Read more about PBS here.

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