December 15, 2015

Group or Shared Medical Appointments

Group (GMA) or shared medical appointments (SMA) seem to have taken on a life of their own in the last few years. I have been involved with two doctors that have asked me about SMAs and they both were surprised that a lay person (patient) would be promoting them. I have put both in contact with the doctors that have trained their own peer mentors to help them and received their thanks.

Now I am beginning to see some research on group medical appointments. I see little difference between them and they can vary by how a doctor wants to call them.

Medical management delivered via group medical appointments appears to be effective for glycemic control in patients with type 2 diabetes, according to research published in Diabetes Spectrum. It is a shame that this research has to be behind a pay wall, but at least I can use this to give to doctors that ask questions.

Cora A. Caballero, NP, from Loma Linda Healthcare System in California, and colleagues conducted an electronic chart review comparing group medical appointments care for 52 male patients with usual primary care for 52 male patients, all with type 2 diabetes. Demographic and health-related variables were analyzed.

The researchers found that the target HbA1c goals were reached by a greater proportion of group medical appointment patients (50%) than usual primary care patients (19.2%). The rate of decline of HbA1c over time was significantly faster for group medical appointment participants vs usual primary care participants.

"This study demonstrated that the concept of medical management delivered in a group approach had a positive effect on glycemic control in patients with type 2 diabetes," the researchers wrote. "GMAs were found to be an effective approach to achieving patient-centered goals for improving the glycemic control of patients with type 2 diabetes."

No mention is made about secrecy and any problems encountered. I think this is great and hopefully opens the door to more GMAs or SMAs.

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