Caitlin Clement|11/16/2023|4 min read

7 Ways Telehealth Can Benefit Your GLP-1 Weight Loss Program

See greater ROI with a virtual medical weight loss program

man holding semaglutide injector pen and preparing it for injection

In the ever-evolving landscape of medicine, healthcare executives are continually seeking innovative solutions to enhance patient outcomes, streamline processes and ensure a positive return on investment (ROI). One area that holds significant promise is the integration of virtual platforms into weight loss programs, particularly those incorporating GLP-1 medications

The recent FDA approval of Eli Lily’s ZepBound® has created even more fervor (if that was possible) around medical weight loss. As a healthcare leader, you understand the importance of staying at the forefront of industry innovation to ensure your patients receive the best outcomes. We’re here to explore seven compelling reasons why a virtual GLP-1 weight loss program can offer your patients a better weight loss experience and deliver superior ROI compared to other traditional models.

1. No geographical restrictions

One of the most significant advantages of a virtual GLP-1 weight loss program is the elimination of geographical constraints. With a virtual platform, patients can access healthcare services and support regardless of their location. This is especially crucial for reaching individuals in remote or underserved areas where traditional healthcare services may be limited. According to the CDC, 34.2% of adults living in rural counties are obese compared to 28.7% in the metropolitan counties.

By breaking down geographical barriers, virtual programs open up new avenues for reaching a broader patient population, thereby increasing the program's reach and potential impact. 

2. Lower cost to treat

Traditional weight loss programs often involve significant overhead costs associated with physical facilities, staffing and administrative expenses. In contrast, virtual GLP-1 weight loss programs present an opportunity for cost savings. By leveraging digital platforms, healthcare executives can minimize infrastructure costs while still delivering high-quality care.

Reduced overhead, coupled with the potential for increased patient volume through virtual accessibility, contributes to a lower cost-to-treat ratio. A study published in the National Library of Medicine identified four key areas of savings with telehealth; productivity gains, reductions in secondary care, alternate funding models and telementoring. This financial efficiency, as a result, enhances the overall ROI of your weight loss program. 

The best part? You don’t have to sacrifice patient experience to see a better bottom line. Patients can receive the same treatment and access to providers as they would with traditional models while enjoying even greater flexibility and convenience.  

3. Better patient adherence to treatment

Achieving successful weight loss outcomes heavily relies on the patient’s adherence to prescribed treatments—especially when it comes to managing their weight long-term. Traditional weight loss programs often face challenges in maintaining patient engagement and adherence due to various reasons, including scheduling conflicts, transportation issues and limited access to resources. However, one thing these all have in common is a lack of convenience. Virtual GLP-1 weight loss programs overcome these hurdles by providing patients with the flexibility to participate from the comfort of their homes. The convenience of virtual visits encourages greater adherence to treatment plans, resulting in more successful and sustained weight loss outcomes. The easier we can make it for patients to attend visits and record their health data, the more likely they are to do it. Plain and simple.

4. Continuous patient monitoring

Virtual GLP-1 weight loss programs can leverage remote patient monitoring (RPM) technology to enable continuous patient monitoring via async visits and wearables. Real-time data collection and analysis provide healthcare professionals with valuable insights into patient progress, allowing for timely interventions and personalized adjustments to treatment plans. 

This continuous monitoring not only enhances patient care, but also contributes to better overall program outcomes. With virtual platforms, healthcare executives can implement data-driven strategies to optimize treatment approaches and maximize the effectiveness of the GLP-1 weight loss program.

5. Supports value-based care medicine

The shift towards value-based care is a fundamental transformation in the healthcare industry, emphasizing the delivery of high-quality care with a focus on positive patient outcomes. Telehealth is built on this model and supports it through increased access (as we discussed earlier) and continuity of care. With the obesity epidemic so widespread, these are going to be crucial to tackling it. 

Virtual GLP-1 weight loss programs align seamlessly with the principles of value-based care. By providing accessible, patient-centric and data-driven solutions, these programs contribute to improved patient satisfaction, better health outcomes and enhanced overall program value. As a healthcare leader, aligning your organization with value-based care principles is not only ethically sound but also financially smart. 

PMPM vs. fee-for-service billing

Per Member Per Month (PMPM) is a type of medical billing that aligns well with managed and value-based care. Given their typical monthly patient follow-ups and clockwork-like injections, virtual weight loss programs could be an ideal candidate for this billing type. Essentially, PMPM billing is based on a fixed amount that is paid out per patient regardless of the number of services provided. It’s typically calculated based on the expected cost of providing healthcare services to the member. Most medical weight loss programs have a clinical protocol that could be easily billed through PMPM and built on a subscription based payment model. 

6. Enhanced patient engagement and education

Virtual platforms offer patients dynamic opportunities for engagement and education. Interactive features, such as virtual support groups and educational modules, empower patients with the knowledge and tools needed for successful weight loss. This ongoing engagement facilitated by virtual programs fosters a sense of community and accountability among participants, further enhancing the likelihood of positive outcomes. Educated and engaged patients are more likely to adhere to treatment plans, leading to improved program success and ultimately a higher ROI.

7. Scalability and flexibility

The scalability and flexibility inherent in virtual GLP-1 weight loss programs are pivotal in achieving greater ROI. Traditional programs may face limitations in accommodating increasing patient volumes or adapting to evolving healthcare needs. Virtual platforms allow for seamless scalability, enabling healthcare executives to reach a broader audience without compromising the quality of care. The flexibility to adjust program components based on real-time data and emerging trends ensures that the weight loss program remains adaptive and responsive to the ever-changing landscape of healthcare.

Powering Your GLP-1 Weight Loss Programs, Virtually 

Embracing a virtual approach to GLP-1 weight loss is not just a forward-thinking strategy; it's a practical choice with the potential for substantial ROI. From improving patient adherence and eliminating geographical barriers to continuous monitoring capabilities, cost savings and alignment with value-based care models, the benefits of virtual platforms are clear. 

At OpenLoop, safety, security and scalability are at the heart of every one of our solutions. We power GLP-1 programs through our NCQA-certified clinician network, intuitive, HIPAA-compliant technology platform and industry leading RCM services. Easily book GLP-1 appointments, make payments, bill, order labs, chart, schedule and see patients all in one easy-to-use platform.  

Interested in how you can get started? Get in touch here!

Our full suite of white-labeled Telehealth Support Services include: