10 January 2011

Shared Medical Appointments SMAs

When I first wrote about this back on 29 May 2009, I was quite skeptical and a little unbelieving in the usefulness of this. Now I realize that this may have some value and may be quite helpful in certain groups. Again I must say this is not for every physician and patient.

Studies are proving that this can work and after talking to a couple of people that have been involved in SMAs, I am beginning to see the value and how it can work. There are some rules laid out here (near the end) that should be followed to make these work. When they are an integral part of the program, and in the hands of a knowledgeable and caring physician they do seem to work quite well.

While talking with two people is not very representative, I can report that both said they were very apprehensive when introduced to the idea. After several meetings and slowly getting to know others in the group, they found that there were benefits they had not considered. Both agreed that just knowing others had the same problems and concerns was part of what bound them together as a group.

They both felt that some people did not belong in their SMA, but most of the group seems to be doing a lot better and some were staying in touch outside the SMA. This SMA was not about diabetes.

The latest study chooses to call SMAs diabetic group visits (DGVs) probably because they are for people with diabetes, Type 2. It was led by an MD from Flint, Michigan and only included 51 participants divided into two groups. I will let you read about the study here.

I am not an advocate of small studies and I do wonder why they cannot find more for these studies. Even with this the more of these studies they do, the more evidence that will build showing whether or not SMAs will work and how well or poorly.

I will be very interested to see if this is something that will ever happen in this area. I have met a few very interesting people while waiting for endocrinologist appointments and it would be interesting to find out if SMAs would work.

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