The Primary Care Obesity Network (PCON) is a network of primary care providers in Central Ohio linked to the Center for Healthy Weight and Nutrition at Nationwide Children’s Hospital. The network is the first of its kind in Ohio.
The structure and care provided by providers as a part of the PCON is supported by American Health Association (AHA) expert committee guidelines on prevention and treatment of childhood obesity and the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) clinic –community integrated care model.
PCON’s goal is to implement evidence-based obesity care by establishing a sustainable multi-sector collaboration between primary care practices, a tertiary obesity care center and community organizations to address childhood obesity in Ohio.
PCON offices provide a close to home treatment option for children who are at or above the 85th percentile for Body Mass Index (BMI). The PCON program also empowers participating physicians to provide, and makes possible for children in the community to receive, treatment in the early stages of overweight or obesity.
Depending on patient need and resource availability, each of the participating primary care offices functions as either a Level 1 PCON clinic (physician only) or a Level 2 PCON clinic (allied health professional working with the physicians). The Center for Healthy Weight and Nutrition provides education and training, as well as administrative support to all participating clinics.
Physicians and allied health professionals are trained to use motivational interviewing to identify patient’s goals, provide them with educational materials, and create an individual plan to help the patient reach their goal of lowering their BMI.
Using a combination of electronic health records and data abstraction, outcomes such as patients’ weight, height, lifestyle behaviors and utilization rates are tracked.
Training includes an annual 1-4 hour session depending on need, supplemented by webinars and office lunch sessions.
Patient-Centered Medical Neighborhood (PCMN)
One of the key features of the Primary Care Obesity Network is to integrate the clinic setting with the community by building sustainable relationships. This is done through an initiative called the Patient-Centered Medical Neighborhood (PCMN).
The PCMN links ALL patients to pertinent resources within their own community through their PCP office, regardless of whether the patient is overweight or not. Hence, prevention remains the primary focus for the PCMN initiative.
The administrative staff of the PCON will establish partnerships with the relevant resources and organizations in the community and provide resources, educational materials, information on current community events and tools to each PCON office. A specific theme e.g., community gardening is used for a 3-month period.
Examples of themes for the PCMN include:
- Nutrition topics
- Increasing physical activity
- Strategies for changing behavior
- Community gardening
- Parenting and lifestyle intervention
- Examples of activities related to the PCMN: grocery store tours, cooking classes, produce prescriptions, physical activity led by a physician, offering after school and school programming, referrals to food pantries, free produce markets, and community recreation classes.
Benefits of Participation
- Improve outcomes of overweight patients.
- Receive program materials, access practical tools, participate in webinars and effective strategies for obesity management in a primary care setting.
- Receive feedback on clinical (e.g., patient progress) outcomes for patients in the program.
- Receive ongoing support for improvement, as well as feedback about project progress.
- Provide patients linkages to resources in the community to help families be healthier.
Topic-specific webinars directed to the physicians that provide additional education or resources to be utilized within primary care practices. Example topics include: comorbidities, physical activity, eating behaviors and nutrition. Click here for instructions on how to obtain CME credit for these webinars.
- Introduction to PCON Presentation
- PCON Fact Sheet
- PCON Physician Resources
- NCCOR Presentation
- Pediatrics Nationwide Brief: Promising Practices and Patient-Centered Medical Neighborhoods for Childhood Obesity
- Expert Committee Recommendations Regarding the Prevention, Assessment, and Treatment of Child and Adolescent Overweight and Obesity: Summary Report
- A Model Framework That Integrates Community and Clinical Systems for the Prevention and Management of Obesity and Other Chronic Diseases
- Algorithm for the Assessment and Management of Childhood Obesity in Patients 2 Years and Older
- The Primary Care Obesity Network: Translating Expert Committee Guidelines on Childhood Obesity Into Practice