Friday, July 10, 2009

Mom Always Said to Share, but Is This Too Far?

How often were you reminded to share when you were younger? Toys, games, snacks, drinks - we all remember this. However, I recently read an article where sharing has taken to a whole new level. Shared medical appointments or SMA's.

According to an article in the AARP bulletin, there is a group of cardiologists in Massachusetts providing this new type of health care service. Further research on the web located many practices throughout the country that offer this type of appointment as well. Up to 15 patients can schedule a 90 minute appointment with the physician. Questions are addressed with the entire group and the physician can interact privately with individuals if and when needed. Ok, so when was the last time you spent 90 minutes with your physician? Exactly! Patients receive face to face health care in a group setting, which enables them to learn from each other and gain a greater understanding of their own medical conditions. During SMAs, patients benefit from listening to each other's questions while experiencing the support of a group environment. Patients can easily identify with each other because they are all dealing with the same issues.

SMAs may sound like a new-age idea, but in fact the approach integrates tried-and-true methods. Patients learn from and are inspired by others in the group.

SMA's are not for all conditions or every circumstance, but there are definitely benefits to this type of open group discussion. With the decline in primary care physicians and the aging population, this just might be a trend for the future.

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