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Losing Weight Virtually with Joslin Everywhere

Friday, January 11, 2013

Losing Weight when you have diabetes may be only a keystroke away. One of the first innovations in the Joslin Everywhere (JE) program, the Joslin’s virtual outreach architecture, is an on-line weight management program for people with diabetes.

Joslin’s Why WAIT program, a well-attended, successful in-person 12 week program for people with type 1 or type 2 diabetes who need to lose weight, has demonstrated excellent outcomes for both weight loss and blood glucose control and has garnered accolades from patients and health care providers. So much so, that Joslin has recently expanded its reach into the community with a Why WAIT type program they developed for the Waltham YMCA (Y) for people with type 2 diabetes not using insulin.

“The program at the community Y was well received, patients were engaged and motivated and it taught us that our concepts could be transferred into a community setting with primary care providers taking the responsibility for their patients’ follow-up.” says Cathy Carver, Joslin’s Vice-President for Advocacy and Planning.

Now with JE, Joslin is hoping to expand its catchment area allowing patients from other health organizations as well as its own patient caseload to take advantage of the Joslin’s weight management resources.

Paul Penta, Joslin’s Webcare Program Manager, hopes to bring JE into situations such as self- insured employers and large medical practice groups. “Many of these patients don’t have the time or aren’t geographically accessible to the Joslin, “ he said. “And by engaging the practice groups we really want to make sure providers are aware of what their patients are doing and on board to help them with medication adjustment .

“Our experience with the Y taught us that the more patients learned about diabetes, the more they were likely to engage with the primary care providers.” added Penta.

On-line weight loss programs aren’t new, Weight Watchers® and Jenny Craig® offer some version of their diets in a virtual mode and many commercial programs pay at least lip service to the needs of people with diabetes. But Joslin’s is the most prepared to treat those controlled with insulin. Most commercial endeavors are ill-equipped to handle the needs of those who are taking insulin injections. All of the Joslin’s programs are developed with the input of our providers and educators. Since they work with patients everyday; they know the strategies that succeed.

“The program offers education specific to diabetes: behavior modification tips, the ability to log food, exercise and medication, as well as the opportunity to meet others with similar experiences and needs,” says Gill Arathuzik, R.D., C.D.E., one of the dietitians who helped design the program content.

“For the time being the program is going to be offered free of charge to patients,” says Carver. “We are hoping that provider groups and large employers will find it profitable to keep their staff healthy by helping us subsidize the cost. Whether we expand to other groups or the pricing structure changes in the future is too early to know.”

Joslin will be providing the content for the program, while MADPOW located in Portsmouth, NH is contributing the technology including a consumer- focused interface. A small pilot is set to launch in early 2013.

Page last updated: April 23, 2014