The future: group visits for GP care?
THE GP clinic of the future may have to make room for a crowd, as studies show chronic illnesses can be effectively managed in “group patient visits”.
US research supports a model of 5–10 patients in an extended consult with one doctor for the treatment of diabetes or coronary artery disease and in elderly patients with multiple illnesses.
The latest trial, in patients with Parkinson’s disease (PD), showed no drop-off in the quality of care received.
“Group patient visits may be a feasible means of providing care to individuals with PD and may offer an alternative or complementary method of care delivery for some patients and physicians,” the US-based researchers concluded after the 12-month trial.
It involved 30 patients and their caregivers, who were randomly assigned to receive routine checkups either in a group or a conventional individualised setting. Group visits lasted 90 minutes and were held every three months, with patients given time to share personal stories.
The practice raised “certain logistical issues”, but “with modest group sizes… physicians could see an equivalent number of patients per unit-time in a one-on-one setting as they could in a group.”
Neurology 2011; 76:1542-47
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