Several days ago I had a patient provide me with a very poignant insight into the importance of accountability as this relates to the weight control journey. The patient recommended to me that we abolish the ability of our patients to self-schedule their appointments online. That caught me off guard, as the SP Team and I thought that allowing self-scheduling (as opposed to calling) would make the process much easier for patients and this would be a welcome addition to our processes. The patient brought a different perspective: The same “ease” in scheduling appointments translated to the same “ease” in canceling an appointment. Rather than being forced to call and talk to someone about canceling an appointment and being queried as to a reason why and/or having a “live” person attempt to reschedule an appointment for her, it was much simpler to cancel online.
The major reason why the patient was canceling the appointment: She has been stuck in a lull of sorts, not losing weight and rather than come in and discuss the situation, she simply wanted to avoid this encounter. The patient stated that this was not because anyone on our counseling team is “mean” and judgmental. Rather, she felt embarrassed about the lack of progress.
Accountability is a major component to the success of a weight control journey. This tales several forms: 1- Accountability to the team working with you on the weight control effort and 2- Self-accountability. Both factors are very important contributions to successful weight control. In the case of accountability to others, whether this refers to our team or a family member, reasons include:
- Embarrassment if success is not being achieved
- Feelings that you are “letting someone down” (other than yourself)
- Receiving encouragement and “pats on the back” along the way
Will we stop the online scheduling feature we offer? Probably not, but this scenario will make us more vigilant about the “self-canceling” and proactively reach out to patients that do. We never forget that you are paying us lots of $$$ for our program and we do not want you disappearing from us.
One last thought: When you leave the program visits, PLEASE come in for FREE body scans monthly. This provides an “Accountability Factor” that does not cost you a penny. Accountability sort of keeps us “honest” with ourselves.
Enjoy Billy Joel’s song about “Honesty”