Illustration: Maria Bruni
Strength in Numbers
Proof that shared medical appointments (SMAs) really can make a difference.
SMA: Decreased by 13.7 mmHg
Non-SMA:: Decreased by 6.4 mmHg
Appointment Wait Time
SMA: 25 days for new bariatric patients
Non-SMA:: 58 days for new bariatric patients
ER and Inpatient Charges for Uninsured Patients
SMA: $250 per patients per month
Non-SMA:: $1,167 per patient per month
SMA: 1 percentage of weight lost
Non-SMA:: .8 percentage of weight lost
Will I have to get naked in front of strangers?
Here's what to expect at a shared medical appointment.
No, other patients won't see you in your skivvies. For appointments that require disrobing (like annual exams or dermatologic skin checks), the doctor sees each patient individually in a private room before the (fully clothed) group session.
There may be men in your session—and possibly people you know. Annual checkups are almost always same sex, but for conditions like diabetes, high cholesterol, or asthma, expect to see both men and women at your appointment. And because the doctor's office can't give you other patients' names ahead of time, it's possible that you'll find yourself in a group with a co-worker or neighbor. If that happens and it's an issue, you can reschedule.
What happens in the room stays in the room. Before a session begins, patients must sign confidentiality forms.
Your co-pay won't increase. Even though you'll likely spend at least triple the time with your doctor compared with a one-on-one session, SMAs are billed the same; your out-of-pocket costs won't change.
More Ways to Get the Most Out of Next Checkup
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