What is a Shared Medical Appointment (SMA)?
A shared medical appointment, also referred to as group visits are a series of individual consults sequentially attending to each patient’s unique medical needs in a supportive group setting where all can listen, interact, and learn. SMAs are becoming popular as a means of dealing with difficult health issues that involve long-term management.
How do SMAs Work?
This is a unique new concept in medical practice. Instead of seeing your doctor alone, you’ll be with 8 to 12 other people with similar concerns where you’ll get the latest evidence-based information on a set topic, delivered by a trained health professional, accompanied by a medical consultation with your doctor – and all without any nagging, bickering, harassing or value judgements! Everyone in the group will be invited to contribute to everyone else’s consultation, so all can help each other. Of course, confidential information need not be disclosed and can be followed up, if necessary, in a private consultation with your doctor. Sessions can run anywhere from 60-90 minutes.
What are the benefits of SMAs?
- You get longer to consult with, and listen to, your doctor (with other patients) in a relaxed environment
- You get an information session (20-30 minutes) of the latest information on your particular health issue
- You receive handouts, materials, access to online information, and other resources for free
- Others with similar health issues support you, and each other
- You (or one of the group participants) have the time and opportunity to ask the question(s) you might not have otherwise thought to ask;
- It’s fun – for you and your health care providers.
How Much Will it Cost?
All SMA sessions will be Bulk Billed for your convenience. We want our SMAs to be accessible to everyone.
Can I get my usual prescriptions/medical advice this way?
Yes. A Shared Medical Appointment is exactly the same as an individual appointment where you can discuss medications and treatment options – except there are other people there, and it includes an educational component.. and peer support! So, it’s more helpful and more satisfying – for you and your doctor.
What about Confidentiality?
All attendees are asked to sign a confidentiality agreement prior to the session stating that anything that is said in the consultation is not spoken about outside.
We aim to create a safe and collaborative environment for patients to discuss their health needs. If at any time you do not wish to continue with the session you are free to leave without judgment or consequence.
What does my Doctor/Nurse think of SMAs?
Health professionals love SMAs because they have more time with you, and don’t have to repeat themselves to individual patients. They’re more relaxed and can help you more.
Do I need to be an existing patient to attend?
Yes. If you would like to participate in our SMAs but are not yet an existing patient please book a new patient appointment prior to your first SMA session.