Group Appointments

Your Custom Map to Health and Wellness – Together

Are you dissatisfied with how your providers communicate with you? Do you need more attention, support and information from the health care system than you are currently getting? Would you be surprised to hear that a group visit might be the answer to your problems?!

Typically, an office visit is brief. Your clinician rarely has enough time to cover all of the topics you need to know. If you have more than three concerns, you will likely have to schedule another appointment. It is becoming increasingly clear that today’s choices create tomorrow’s health, and yet self-management and lifestyle modifications are often glossed over. This often leaves you feeling ignored or frustrated. 

This problem is amplified when you have chronic conditions and are struggling to understand how to control and live with your disease. You might even find yourself in urgent care centers or emergency departments – a notoriously less satisfying experience.

Wondering how sitting in a group will get you more attention?

Oh…and it will save you money, too!

 

The standard medical system is reactive, focusing on the urgent and emergent. True health and wellness can only be achieved through proactive prevention. 

Sarah Mann, MD

What is a group appointment?

Group visits are a form of outpatient care that combines medical care, patient education, and patient empowerment in a group setting. In a group visit, patients with a common condition (such as diabetes) or a common treatment (such as cannabis) meet as a group under the guidance of one or more clinicians; participation may be a single appointment or part of regular clinical treatment. 

    “ … you come out of the group feeling much more self-confident … you’ve got your batteries recharged and you can really go till the next group … it’s [GMV] more motivating … you want to do more yourself and rely less on others … but then you always realize there’s others out there to help you if needed.” 

    Patient #16 (Wong, et al)

    What are the Benefits of Group Appointments?

    • Reduced health care costs – While we would like to believe that medicine is not a business and all people are entitled to complete care for free, medical facilities are expensive to maintain. Regardless of the exact structure of the group visit, it will be more efficient and less expensive to run. You can be sure those savings will be passed on to you!
    • Greater patient satisfaction – Patients get more face-to-face time with their providers than with standard appointments. They felt driven by knowing they were “not alone” in their struggles. They feel heard, educated and motivated!
    • Greater clinician satisfaction – Increasing pressures on clinicians to increase productivity has often forced them to reduce patient contact time. With the group appointment, efficiency can be greatly increased, allowing the clinician all of the time they need for education. For example, if the clinician needs 90 minutes to educate on a new condition or treatment plan, they can conduct a group appointment with 6 patients in a 90 minute slot. That way, they can meet their productivity goals without compromising the delivery of quality patient care. They were also spared the repitition of delivering the same educational message multiple times a day.
    • Patient empowerment – The structure of the group medical visit neutralized the inherent power imbalance that exists between the patient and the provider. The groups were more interactive, allowing patients to gain information for their providers, to listen and to share their day-to-day management strategies.
    • Greater patient compliance – The groups provide social and psychological support for the participants and help motivate them to follow their treatment plant and take more responsibility for their own health.
      • Group Appointment Study Outcomes
        • Randomized trials have shown diabetic patients involved in group visits achieved better HbA1c levels than control patients, as well as evidence of improvements in patient self-care and satisfaction, self-efficacy, body weight and non-fasting triglyceride.
        • In a study comparing a group of high HMO users who participated in group visits (all over 65 with chronic conditions), the findings indicated those in the intervention group were more satisfied with their care, had lower costs, fewer ER visits, sub-specialist visits, and calls to physicians. Nurse contact was higher among the group visit patients. Also, participating physicians were more satisfied with caring for older patients than comparison physicians who relied on standard one-to-one interactions with their patients.

      What is the Format of the Group Visit??

      There are many variations to the group visit, depending on the needs of the group.

      The meeting might usually lasts two or more hours and generally follows this format:

      • Introductions
      • Educational mini-lecture, discussion and/or demonstration
      • A break during which clinicians conduct clinical work (e.g., review medication refill needs, check blood pressures and other clinical measures)
      • A discussion or question-and-answer period

       

      They often end with clinicians meeting one-on-one with patients who were identified as needing extra follow-up.

      “ The pharmacist, public health … it was amazing, the information that was given out, which you do not have in a regular doctor’s appointment. They [patients] wanted to talk to the doctor about quitting smoking … I’m just trying to think of anything negative. I just thought they [GMVs] were wonderful.” 

      Patient #109 (Wong, et al)

      Prior to the Appointment

      Have you ever spent your precious time checking tiny boxes only to have the same questions asked of you in the appointment? This will not be one of those times!

      Prior to your appointment, you will be asked to fill out paperwork pertaining to your condition. Your clinician will read this in depth prior to the appointment so your group visit time can be spent focusing on you.

      Depending on the nature of the visit, you may be asked to obtain labs prior to the appointment. In the event of a genomics or precision medicine evaluation, you may need to send genetic testing 6-12 weeks prior to the appointment. 

       

       

      Individual Welcome and Goal Setting

      The first hour of the group might be spent with a 5-10 minute solo visit with your clinician. If you are new to the clinic, this will be a chance for you to meet the team individually, if you have not already. This will also be a chance to set personal goals, or share personal information you may not wish to share with the group. During your waiting period, you can either get to know your group members, watch and educational video or read through some of the handouts.

      Group Education

      Once you are familiar and settled into your group, the education will start. It will be a fully interactive session that will address your specific needs. You will have the opportunity to ask questions. When warranted, there may be excersize or nutrition demonstrations.Other groups may be geared towards activities, like a trip to the online grocery store with a dietician or nutritionist. 

      “ … you come out of the group feeling much more self-confident … you’ve got your batteries recharged and you can really go till the next group … it’s [GMV] more motivating … you want to do more yourself and rely less on others … but then you always realize there’s others out there to help you if needed.” 

      Patient #16 (Wong, et al)

      What About HIPAA?

      Whether your appointment is in a group or in a 1:1 consultation, you are entitled to the same privacy rights. Your clinician will not disclose any of your personal or medical details during group discussion. HIPAA does not prevent you from sharing your own personal or medical details with the group. If you choose to share your information with the group, that is at your discretion. If you are uncomfortable sharing and are only there to learn, that is no problem. You will have ample opportunity to relate your personal details to the clinician in privacy. 

       

      Referenced Studies

      • Trento M, Passera P, Tomalino M, et al. Group visits improve metabolic control in type 2 diabetes: a 2-year follow-up. Diabetes Care 2001;24(6):995-1000.
      • Sadur CN, Moline N, Costa M, et al. Diabetes management in a health maintenance organization. Efficacy of care management using cluster visits. Diabetes Care 1999;22(12):2011-7.
      • Anderson RM, Funnell MM, Butler PM, et al. Patient empowerment. Results of a randomized controlled trial. Diabetes Care 1995;18(7):943-9.
      • Kronsbein P, Jörgens V, Mülhauser I, et al. Evaluation of a structured treatment and teaching programme on non-insulin-dependent diabetes. Lancet 1988; 2(8625):1407-11.
      • Beck A, Scott J, Williams P, et al. A randomized trial of group outpatient visits for chronically ill older HMO members: the Cooperative Health Care Clinic. J Am Geriatr Soc 1997;45(5):543-9.
      • Wong ST, Browne A, Lavoie J, Macleod ML, Chongo M, Ulrich C. Incorporating Group Medical Visits into Primary Healthcare: Are There Benefits?. Healthc Policy. 2015;11(2):27-42.

       

       

       

      Can A Group Visit Help You?

      Genomics testing offers the opportunity for highly customized, personal health and wellness advice. From treating disease with greater efficacy and fewer side effects, to enhancing performance in all areas of life, genomics is truly revolutionizing how people care for their bodies.

      Contact Us

      Get in on this revolutionary opportunity to enhance your life. Contact us today to discuss if genomics testing is right for you.

      All information contained on this website is intended for informational and educational purposes only, and is not intended nor suited to be a replacement or substitute for professional medical treatment or for professional medical advice relative to a specific medical question or condition.