From Bloomberg today:
Group appointments seem to be catching on in this day of Obamacare – but how would you feel about a group doctors appointment and sharing an hour and a half with a dozen + people with similar medical conditions? Is this something you’d be willing to try?
According to the American Academy of Family Physicians, around 10 percent of family doctors already offer shared medical appointments, sessions that bring together a dozen or more patients with similar medical conditions to meet with a doctor for 90 minutes. With pressure from the government and insurers to bring down the cost of care while treating the increasing number of people with health insurance, patients can expect group visits to become more common. “It’s efficient. It’s economical. It’s high-quality care when it’s done right,” says Edward Noffsinger, a California psychologist who created the model in the 1990s at Kaiser Permanente, the state’s largest health maintenance organization (HMO).
Research shows that it has helped patients control blood sugar and blood pressure, but it’s unclear if it reduces admissions or other problems. What is clear – it is wonderful for a doctor’s bottom line, and with the pressure they’re under they need to be creative to make the numbers work.