I read recently about a gentleman who was discussing his concerns about new heart treatments and medicines with his cardiologist – and about 10 other patients. This gentleman is one of a growing number of patients participating in a new way of providing healthcare – Shared Medical Appointments (SMAs).
SMAs allow as many as 15 patients to schedule an appointment with one physician for a 90-minute session. The physician interacts with individual patients as needed, but usually addresses questions with the entire group. “Physically and emotionally, I feel SMAs have a value and a benefit that regular physician appointments don’t have,” the gentleman said.
The benefit supporters say, is that you get to spend more time with your physician and see others who are dealing with the same issues. SMAs may not be appropriate for every medical encounter, said the gentleman’s cardiologist. But he thinks they have a promising future. “There’s a pressing issue in medicine, and the issue is one of access,” the cardiologist went on to say.