Shared Medical Appointments: Is This Our Future?

Healthcare Training Resource
December 6, 2013 — 1,095 views  
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The latest trend in health and medicine these days is shared medical appointments. It has been covered by the major news outlets and is soon about to go mainstream. It essentially involves patients visiting their doctors in groups of three or more. There are several ‘claimed’ advantages and benefits of this.

The Rise in Shared Medical Appointments

The growth in shared medical appointments was being observed for a long time. But it really took off after the ObamaCare Act was signed into law. Since then, more and more patients are visiting their doctors in groups and most seem to have no reservations about it.

The group visits usually revolve around one of the patients, who want to get an opinion from the doctor and brings along his friends because of several reasons. The practice has been endorsed by several doctors for the present. But it is yet to be fully accepted by the medical community. Many medical professionals are still skeptical about it.

The Benefits of Shared Medical Appointments

It is claimed that shared medical appointments help the patient to be more frank with the doctor. Some patients are quite scared by the prospect of meeting their doctor alone. Having some friends for company seems to make this process easier and more approachable for most patients.

The friends of the patient might also weigh in to the discussion and might contribute their fair bit to the diagnosis and examination of the patient. This is possible because friends know a lot about each other’s eating and exercise habits. A shared medical appointment is in many ways like a group support therapy session with the doctors playing the role of the specialist expert in his field.

Concerns about Shared Medical Appointments

At the same time, several concerns have been raised about shared medical appointments. Most of them are related to privacy issues. Many patients are not comfortable with divulging their personal information in the presence of a third person.

Medical appointments used to be intimate and personal affairs. With the rise of shared medical appointments, they could become more public and open than usual. This can clearly be taken as a privacy violation by many people. The practice is still being tried out in clinics across the country. It remains to be seen as to when and how it becomes mainstream. In the meantime, opinions are still divided about it.

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