PCORnet Blog

Why Engage Patients at “Your Weight Matters”?

Author: Kimberly Holmquist, MPH, Research Project Manager for Kaiser Permanente Southern California (KPSC) Research & Evaluation, the Lead Site for Kaiser Permanente & Strategic Partners Patient Outcomes Research To Advance Learning (PORTAL) Network and Lead Site for PCORnet secondary aim for bariatric studies.

Kimberly started her career in medical research with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in 1990 as a Disease Intervention Specialist.  She worked with the CDC, National Immunization Program as a Project Manager for Special Projects.  She joined KPSC in 2002 where she worked as a Project Manager for the SEARCH for Diabetes in Youth Study.  She started working on bariatric studies in 2017 because she is also a bariatric surgery patient so these studies are important to her on a personal and professional level.  

This week’s Your Weight Matters National Convention in New Orleans, an event organized by the Obesity Action Coalition, is a unique event that convenes patients looking for information on bariatric surgery as well as physicians, bariatric surgeons and policy makers all in one place.

This event is the perfect opportunity to highlight the Patient Centered Outcomes Research Network Bariatric Study (PCORnet Bariatric Study), a PCORnet Demonstration Study that compares the health benefits of three common bariatric procedures after the surgery. In addition to analyzing changes in weight, rate of remission, rate of diabetes relapse or improvements, and risk of major adverse health events, this study is also exploring patient perspectives on their key choices regarding bariatric surgery, such as whether to have surgery, which procedure is right for them, and receipt of follow-up care.

To that end, our researchers are hosting a Focus Group at Your Weight Matters where we hope to engage with patients to help better understand how patients obtain information on weight loss surgery, what information is important in determining a surgical procedure, and what they want to know from others who have had surgery. We will also disseminate information on valuable resources for support before and after surgery. The PCORnet Bariatric Study is looking to hear from individuals who have had weight-loss surgery, those who might be considering weight-loss surgery, or anyone who might want to learn more about weight-loss surgery. Healthcare professionals, consumers, patients, policy makers, and other stakeholders are also welcome to attend.

This focus group will help reach the main aims of the study which are to elicit patient preferences around the risks and benefits regarding the choice of whether to undergo bariatric surgery; which bariatric procedure to use; and the optimal follow-up care after bariatric surgery. We are conducting a series of focus groups among two patient populations: adults and children with severe obesity that are eligible for but have not had bariatric surgery, and those patients who have had bariatric surgery. We are working with PCORnet’s Clinical Data Research Networks (CDRNs) and Patient-Powered Research Networks (PPRNs) across the country to identify patients who may be interested in participating. The findings from this qualitative approach will help us better understand why patients choose to have surgery (or not), how they decide which procedure to undergo, as well as how their post-operative experiences can be improved once they have chosen surgery. This approach will also assist us in identifying important measurable differences between patients who choose different bariatric procedures that can then be accounted for in our analyses and help us discern which study outcomes are most important to patients with severe obesity.

We believe the information gathered from these discussions will assist the bariatric medical community in adapting their methods to better serve patients with specific needs.

The population in attendance at the Your Weight Matters Convention is the exact audience to help us with our research because it includes patients looking for information on bariatric surgery, patients who have had surgery already, physicians, bariatric surgeons and policy makers all in one place.  We are hoping to connect with these participants and link them into future research as stakeholders.

About PCORnet

PCORnet, the National Patient-Centered Clinical Research Network, is an innovative initiative of the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI). The goal of PCORnet is to improve the nation’s capacity to conduct clinical research by creating a large, highly representative network that directly involves patients in the development and execution of research. More information is available at www.pcornet.org.


The Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) is an independent, nonprofit organization authorized by Congress in 2010. Its mission is to fund research that will provide patients, their caregivers, and clinicians with the evidence-based information needed to make better-informed healthcare decisions. PCORI is committed to continually seeking input from a broad range of stakeholders to guide its work. More information is available at www.pcori.org.