Bariatric surgery is a powerful tool with the potential to improve long-term health status, increase quality of life, and even reverse chronic disease. Often, the majority of research and attention is focused on the surgery itself with limited emphasis on the actual lifestyle factors that have profound influence over surgery outcomes.


As one of the largest bariatric surgery providers worldwide with over 40,000 surgeries completed, Kaiser Permanente’s Southern California (KP SCal) region has long been committed to supporting the health of its patients undergoing bariatric surgery. In 2018, KP SCal’s Center for Healthy Living began to reimagine and redesign the bariatric surgery experience for its patients. Guided by the principles of human centered design, KP SCal engaged with over 100 bariatric surgery candidates and post-op patients to design a new framework for the bariatric surgery education experience that puts patients' need at the core.


By using human centered design to design WITH bariatric patients and not simply FOR them, KP SCal has created a new framework for how it prepares and supports it bariatric patients, which includes a trauma-informed approach with four components: 1.) pre-surgery skill building program, 2.) post-surgery long-term engagement program, 3.) comprehensive member-centric website, and 4.) wellness coaching program.


This presentation will share key insights and findings from focus groups, interviews, and codesign sessions with over 100 pre and post-op patients; highlight the framework of KP SCal’s new approach to bariatric surgery education, and long-term support; and share future evaluation plans to ensure the long-term success of KP’s bariatric surgery population.