Is It Time To Change The Ask?

Most readers will be quite familiar with my 5As of Obesity Management (Ask, Assess, Advise, Agree, and Assist).

Until now, we have emphasized that any conversation about weight with someone in your practice should begin with a polite and non-judgmental request for permission to bring up the topic.

However, given the recent surge in popular interest in new medications for obesity, we now suddenly have patients lining up to request weight-loss prescriptions from their doctors.

So, while previously, both doctors and patients have been hesitant to bring up the topic of weight, this is now often the exact reason why people are making appointments to see their doctors.

This, of course, changes the nature of the Ask. No longer, is it about the doctor initiating the conversation by asking for permission to discuss weight. Rather it is now the patient who brings up the topic outright by asking for a prescription for an anti-obesity medication.

This obviously changes the Ask – a more appropriate response would now be, “Why do you think you need this?” and “Where did you hear and what do you know about it?”

This opens a whole new conversation. 

So, yes, we still start with an Ask, but it’s a different Ask. 

Obviously, we still need to then proceed with the other steps of Assessment, Advising, and Agreeing, before (if appropriate) we then Assist our patients in their treatment journey.

An interesting twist to the story is now, that we are left with figuring out how to deal with individuals seeking prescriptions, for whom anti-obesity medication may neither be indicated nor suitable.

Berlin, D