SOURCE: Global Advances in Health and Medicine LLC

November 05, 2015 07:36 ET

Two Independent Studies Find Group Medical Visits to Be Beneficial to Patients

One Study Focused on Women With Chronic Pain, the Other on Patients With Cardiovascular Risk Factors; Both Are Published in the November 2015 Issue of Global Advances in Health and Medicine

BOSTON, MA--(Marketwired - November 05, 2015) - Two separate articles published in the November 2015 issue of Global Advances in Health and Medicine describe the positive effects of group medical visits in two different populations.

In the first, Helen Delichatsios, MD, SM, and colleagues invited adult patients of a primary care practice in Boston, Massachusetts, with at least one cardiovascular risk factor to participate in group medical visits that included cooking demonstrations and information about nutrition and medical management of their conditions. Seventy patients participated, attending 17 nutrition-focused "shared medical appointments" (SMAs) over a 4-year period. In surveys conducted after each visit, patients indicated that they enjoyed the SMAs, would consider alternating SMAs with traditional one-on-one visits, and would recommend them to others. Further, half said they would pay out of pocket or a higher copay to attend SMAs.

In the second article, Jeffery Geller, MD, and colleagues evaluated a group medical visit program based on an "empowerment model" -- defined here as the ability to try new things and make lifestyle changes -- in patients with chronic pain. The cohort study enrolled 42 women with chronic pain in an underserved community. Participants completed the Short Form 36 Health Status Questionnaire (SF-36) at baseline and after 6 months of participation in the program. Group visits consisted of an empowerment check-in wherein the women could share about their lives; physician discussions about pain-related medical topics, followed by low-impact chair yoga, tai chi, meditation, or light exercise instruction; and a 15-minute check-out. At the end of the study, statistically significant changes (P<.05) were seen in the following SF-36 categories: Role-Physical, Bodily Pain, General Health, Social Function, and Mental Health, with the largest improvements in Role-Physical and Role-Emotional areas.

In a viewpoint article also appearing in this issue, Katherine Gergen Barnett, MD, said, "The[se] two articles beautifully bring the field of group visit research further along. They also show that groups can be run in different ways with different applications and be successful. With so much research to support them and such an invitingly broad array of applications, why aren't group medical visits more common?"

For details about this study, access to other articles from the November issue, and an audio overview of the issue by co­-Editor-in-Chief Robert Saper, MD, MPH, visit

About Global Advances in Health and Medicine

Global Advances in Health and Medicine (GAHMJ) is a global multimedia communication forum that combines original research with breakthrough thinking and analysis of policy initiatives to catalyze global conversations, collaboration, and the building of communities to advance whole-person and whole-systems approaches to care and healing. GAHMJ's platform includes an online and printed peer-reviewed, indexed, medical journal published 6 times per year with abstracts in 3 languages and an interactive website that reaches readers in more than 40 countries.

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