Shared Medical Appointments
A quantum leap forward in chronic disease management and treatment.
Shared Medical Appointments (SMAs), also called ‘Group Visits’, are “A series of consecutive individual medical consultations in a supportive group setting where all can listen, interact, and learn.” As such, an SMA is both an individual consultation and an informal group education session.
Traditionally, medical consultations have been carried out in a 1:1 situation; an ‘expert’ (doctor) consulting with one patient. This has served us well, and still does with injuries and infectious diseases. But the rise in chronic and lifestyle-related diseases has dramatically altered the clinical landscape.
No longer is a short consultation with a doctor sufficient or necessarily appropriate to manage what can amount to complex, lifetime, metabolic, cardiovascular, respiratory and other disorders. And in the same way that the patient’s best interests may not be well served by the traditional 1:1 consultation, medical practices are struggling under the weight of increasing numbers of their patient cohorts with chronic disease.
In the past, attempts have been made to address this by the development of education sessions (eg: diabetes education), usually involving one health ‘expert’ and a patient group of say, 10-20 people. But the group education lacks medical input and the 1:1 consultation lacks an education component. Hence another model was still needed.
The current SMA model was adapted from overseas models some years ago now by Profs Garry Egger and John Stevens, and has since developed into an efficient and effective form of patient consultation and management with a robust protocol, a number of local research studies and importantly, lots of real world application.