ORLANDO, FL. — If you’re like most Americans, you can sometimes feel a bit rushed at the doctor’s office. In one recent NPR survey more than 60% of patients said they’d like to spend a little more time with their doctors. Well, at one hospital, doctors are listening. Not only are they spending more time with their patients, they’re seeing them in groups – and the results are surprising. With more, here’s ABC 10’s Sarah Mac.
It may look more like the start of a business meeting than a doctor’s visit, but for this group of patients, that’s just what it is.
It’s a growing trend in medicine known as shared medical appointments, where for an hour and a half at a time, groups of patients meet with teams of experts.
Ben Kaplan, MD of Orlando Health says, “Ninety minutes with your physician is unheard of in our day and age. Usually patients get rushed in and out for a ten minute visit, so that’s one of the key things patients really like.”
But it’s more than just spending time with your doctor – at this appointment at Orlando Health, there are not only physicians, but also pharmacists, diabetes experts and dietitians. All of whom off expert advice, useful tips and individual encouragement.
Lauren Popeck, MD of Orlando Health says, “I think patients, when they come together and they are all going through the same thing, it gives them a sense of security and of encouragement that, hey I’m not going through this alone.”
And the results are surprising. After a year of shared medical appointments, this group lost an average of more than 14 pounds per person. Their blood pressure dropped considerably and their cholesterol fell an average of more than 45 points.
Maria Lehan is one of the patients – who says she not only gets more out of her doctor with the shared appointments, but also gets motivation and even health recipes from her peers.
Shared medical appointment patient Maria Lehan says, “I love it. You’re with other patients and you can listen to what they have to say and, you know, if you like what they do, you can go their way.”
Patients still see their doctors one on one, of course, but it’s the time they spend together as a group that’s made the biggest difference for them as individuals.
Dr. Kaplan adds, “We’ve really improved so many things that it’s really just been a positive journey throughout.”
How do you feel? Would you try a shared medical appointment?