Collecting Blind Weight For Eating Disorder Patients

Weighing eating disorder patients can cause much stress. Learn how collecting blind weight through a numberless scale can aid in recovery.

Weighing patients  regularly is an important aspect of eating disorder treatment, but it’s often a major source of anxiety for clients. To relieve some of this stress, many clinicians use a method called blind weighing, to make sure their clients never see their measurements. Collecting blind weight is  associated with decreased anxiety, improved treatment adherence, and better motivation for recovery. Using a numberless scale is an effective and forward-thinking way to improve care for clients working toward eating disorder recovery.

What are blind weights?

Many eating disorder treatment protocols use “open weights”, which means that clients know what their weight is. In contrast, “blind weight” refers to a process for weighing patients that ensures clients never see the number on the scale. Blind weights help dietitians and other healthcare providers get key information about their clients’ health while also minimizing anxiety and stress. 

There are a few variations on collecting blind weight. Some clinicians don’t give away any clues about the client’s weight. However, you may decide to tell them the direction of the change: whether their weight has gone up or down. Or, if they’re working towards a particular goal weight, you might want to let them know that they’re on track. It’s often a good idea to discuss with new eating disorder patients  if they would like some indication about their weight, or none at all. It is also important to keep in mind that however you collect blind weights, it needs to be in a HIPAA compliant manner. Healthie’s practice management platform offers a client portal and messaging software that is 100% HIPAA & PCI compliant. Click here to learn more about our free Starter Plan today.

How can blind weights be beneficial for eating disorder treatment?

About 50% of clinicians use open weights, and 50% use blind weights. There’s a lack of empirical evidence about which method is more effective, but qualitative research indicates that blind weights may be superior for eating disorder treatment.

The main benefit of taking blind weight is anxiety relief. Many clients find that decreasing the stress associated with open weighing helps to minimize their eating disorder symptoms. Addressing clients’ anxiety is important, since as many as 71% of those receiving eating disorder treatment drop out of their program prematurely. Poor treatment engagement is a major barrier to eating disorder recovery, and it seems likely that the stress around weigh-ins could be a contributing factor. 

Blind weights can also help eating disorder patients  get comfortable with weight uncertainty. Obsessively tracking tiny changes in weight is a very common eating disorder behavior. Shifting the focus away from the number on the scale tends to remove its power. This can help clients form better habits for the future, as they realize that their overall wellbeing is far more important than any measurement.

Tips and best practices for collecting blind weights

Many clinicians don’t put much thought into weighing patients through blind weight . They simply ask their client to look away, or step on the scale backwards. However, some clients may still glance at their weight, whether deliberately or not. Others might feel concerned about relying on someone else to accurately capture their measurements. 

Both blind and open weighing are also associated with accuracy issues. If you, or other members of the client’s team, are using different scales and methods, it’s all too easy to end up with inaccurate numbers. The chance for error is further compounded if you need to manually enter measurements into your EHR system.

Numberless Bluetooth virtual scales, such as ClearStep, are quickly becoming a popular tool for eating disorder recovery. These digital scales will never display a number. Instead, they capture a client’s weight and store it in a secure online portal that can only be accessed by their healthcare provider.

Traditional methods of blind weighing patients make it difficult for clients to take their own weight, but with virtual numberless scales, it’s easy to offer remote eating disorder treatment . At home, the patient only needs to open the ClearStep app, step on the scale, and receive confirmation their measurement has been captured. This allows clinicians to provide effective telehealth care to eating disorder clients without causing any unnecessary stress.

Healthie and ClearStep

A numberless virtual weight scale is most effective when used in conjunction with a reliable and HIPAA-compliant EHR platform. ClearStep has partnered with Healthie, making it easy for you to accurately weigh patients, track clients’ weights and other key health metrics (All of this is included in our free starter plan).

When you integrate ClearStep with Healthie, your clients’ weights will be securely stored within their profile and shared with their care team. Of course, the client will never see their weight, as it is a numberless scale. Through Healthie’s online portal, you can review weights, assess trends over time, note any red flags (e.g. sudden drops in weight), and feel confident that all measurements are always accurate.

Healthie is an all-in-one practice management platform for health and wellness professionals, so you can also access a range of other helpful tools and features tailored to your needs. Join Healthie for free today, no credit card required.

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