Stults CD, McCuistion MH, Frosch DL, Hung DY, Cheng PH, Tai-Seale M., Popul Health Manag. [Epub ahead of print], 2015 Jun 19
AbstractThe Affordable Care Act has extended coverage for uninsured and underinsured Americans, but it could exacerbate existing problems of access to primary care.
Shared medical appointments (SMAs) are one way to improve access and increase practice productivity, but few studies have examined the patient's perspective on participation in SMAs.
To understand patient experiences, 5 focus group sessions were conducted with a total of 30 people in the San Francisco Bay Area.
The sessions revealed that most participants felt that they received numerous tangible and intangible benefits from SMAs, particularly enhanced engagement with other patients and physicians, learning, and motivation for health behavior change. Most importantly, participants noted changes in the power dynamic during SMA visits as they increasingly saw themselves empowered to impart information to the physician.
Although SMAs improve access, engagement with physicians and other patients, and knowledge of patients' health, they also help to ease the workload for physicians.