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The doctor will see all of you now: Shared medical appointments on the rise

Group appointments can connect patients with peer support and offer a less-rushed way to consult with a physician, according to patients who’ve taken part.

Would you trade a brief one-on-one visit with your physician for a group appointment that offers more time for discussion, plus the chance to learn from your peers’ situations? Shared medical appointments are on the rise, according to a recent article in Kaiser Health News. The approach has been used for prenatal checkups and patients dealing with diabetes, liver disease and obesity. Patients who take part cite benefits such as not feeling rushed during appointments and getting support from peers in the group, though some consumer advocates criticize the practice.

Many physicians who practice lifestyle medicine, which aims to help patients improve their health through nutrition, exercise and stress management, also offer education to groups of patients. David Drozek, DO, a lifestyle medicine physician in Athens, Ohio, who recently spoke about his specialty with The DO, says tackling health jointly can have benefits for patients. “The patients set goals together in the group setting,” he explained. “They build peer relationships and get support from one another.”

To learn more and hear from patients who’ve received care as part of a group, read Kaiser Health News’ coverage of shared medical appointments.

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