Shared Medical Appointments – The Answer to Chronic Care and Chronic Spending?
July 26, 2013
Written by Kurt Mosley
In the United States, we currently spend some 3 trillion dollars each year on healthcare. Even if the rate of increase declines due to the ACA or other factors, that number is likely to grow. A small group of chronic care patients constitute a large part of healthcare spending. According to the National Institute for Health Care Management Foundation, approximately 5% of the patient population accounts for 50% of all healthcare spending. The report also indicated that people with at least one chronic health condition were more likely to be a
part of the 5% (a quarter of which had diabetes).
Recently, I had the privilege of addressing the American Academy of Private Physicians Summit on Private Medicine. The AAPP’s primary function is to serve as the official national trade organization for medical doctors in the practice of private medicine (often referred to as concierge medicine). The topic of the conference was “A Profession in Flux: Emerging Trends in Private Medicine”, and one of the trends I addressed was the emerging use of Shared Medical Appointments among concierge physicians. A shared medical appointment (SMA) is a 90 minute physician appointment in the company of other patients who share similar conditions. Patients benefit from more time with their physician, no waiting room time, increased access to their doctor, and the opportunity to learn from other patients’ questions. Many patients commented that they leave with more information about their condition and get answers to questions they never thought to ask. There is currently sufficient data to support the effectiveness of group visits for chronic illness management (COPD, Asthma, Diabetes), and group visits continue to expand in popularity across the entire healthcare system.
Shared Medical Appointments are one of the evolving methods of extending the current physician work force as the physician shortage continues to be strained due to increasing access under health reform. I have personally been part of a SMA for an asthma condition, but have not seen this concept put into practice elsewhere. Has anyone experienced or seen SMAs being implemented in the market place?
A Raised Hand addresses the questions and concerns of healthcare facilities on emerging trends and offer practical solutions to some of the most pressing staffing challenges today. Inspired by actual questions proposed by healthcare leaders during his nationwide presentations, Kurt seeks to share understanding of changes and concerns facing physicians, hospital executives, medical directors and patients in today’s changing healthcare environment.
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Kurt Mosley is the Vice President of Strategic Alliances for Merritt Hawkins and Staff Care, companies of AMN Healthcare. Mr. Mosley has over 20 years of healthcare staffing and consulting experience and addresses dozens of healthcare professional organizations each year. Cited by U.S. News & World Report, USA Today, Modern Healthcare and many other publications, Mr. Mosley is nationally recognized for his healthcare staffing expertise.
Mr. Mosley can be reached by email at Kurt.Mosley@amnhealthcare.com, by phone at 469-524-1446 or on Twitter, @Kurt_Mosley.
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