The Right Healthcare Webinar Tools Can Help New Weight Loss Surgery Patients Meet Their Bariatric Surgery Requirements
It’s likely that if you are reading this, you already know the importance of bariatric seminars for prospective and new weight loss surgery patients. Although not a federal regulation, bariatric surgery seminars are often considered a requirement by insurance companies before they will authorize the procedure.
For years, bariatric surgery centers have conducted on-site seminars to advise new bariatric patients about what to expect before and after bariatric surgery, which often provides bariatric patient education for:
• the pre-surgical process
• dietary and fitness regimens
• surgical options
• the recovery process
• various post-surgery/next-steps programs
Further, in-house bariatric seminars provided new weight loss surgery patients an opportunity to meet the center’s bariatric surgeons.
More recently, online bariatric surgery seminars have been offered as an alternative to in-house seminars. Not only does this enable bariatric surgery centers to offer more options for new weight loss surgery patients to attend seminars at times and locations that are more convenient, but it also improves efficiency for busy bariatric surgeons and staff.
The adoption of online bariatric seminars has occurred during a time when online videos have become easier and more affordable to produce—which is very attractive to bariatric surgery centers. However, the advantages can quickly be diminished if the online bariatric surgery seminar is hosted as an online healthcare Webinar with any number of online video streaming apps like:
• Google Hangouts
Although these are adequate for sharing general bariatric patient education and bariatric surgery center marketing videos, they have some critical deficiencies when used for required bariatric surgery seminars. This is particularly true in the context of using them as alternatives to dedicated, pro-quality learning management systems (LMS) and Webinar software. Some key reasons include:
• Tracking: It’s impossible (or difficult at best) to precisely track which new patients actually attended the bariatric seminar. Although YouTube and others provide basic analytics about users (e.g., geography, platform, visit length), they don’t capture the specific information needed to confirm a patient’s attendance or comprehension of the information presented.
Yes, there are workarounds—for instance, patients can leave a comment, which could indicate when they watched the weight loss seminar, however, it requires them to also have user handles that make them easily recognizable—which is far from optimal.
• Poaching: Social media-driven online video platforms like YouTube are highly aware of a channel’s content, which enables it to recommend other videos and display banner advertisements. The obvious problem is those videos and advertisements will likely come from competing bariatric surgery centers, potentially leading your lead to another program’s content. Further, any user comments are viewable by competitors, which further enables them to potentially poach your hard-earned new patient leads.
• Privacy: Virtually any discussion about healthcare information and patients requires some mention about privacy, and online bariatric surgery seminars are no exception—especially if patients are sharing any personal information about themselves so that they can verify they attended a presentation.
The process of acquiring new bariatric patients and providing bariatric patient management from surgery through recovery is a challenging and complicated one—and one where a decision about the real value of free or inexpensive weight loss seminars tools versus professional bariatric patient engagement solutions must be carefully considered. However, specialized bariatric patient engagement tools that have online bariatric seminar capabilities can quickly show a return on investment (ROI) by increasing bariatric patient acquisition rates and improving bariatric surgery outcomes.
Kris Altiere is Sequence Health’s Director of Marketing and Creative.