Shared Medical Appointments (SMAs) or Group Visits are “a series of individual medical consultations sequentially attending to each patient’s unique needs in a supportive group setting where all can listen, interact and learn.”
SMAs an not an alternative to standard one-on-one clinical practice, but an adjunct for treatment where peer support and prolonged treatment may be valuable, such as in chronic disease management.
There are several published overseas studies reporting successes of SMAs over standard clinical consults. However, the data are only beginning to be collected in Australia.
Meanwhile the procedure has been extended to include a structured format (Programmed Shared Medical Appointments or PSMAs) in some areas where this is seen as important (such as weight control, quitting smoking, diabetes care etc). These are currently being tested for proof of concept. Processes and future potential will be considered.