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Patients attending a shared medical appointment.

Shared Medical Appointments

Don’t want to go through your healthcare journey alone? At Cleveland Clinic, we can connect you with others who share similar experiences.

What’s a Shared Medical Appointment (SMA)?

Shared medical appointments are special group visits with your provider and other patients who have similar health conditions and concerns. They’re a great way to share your experiences, ask questions, learn more about your condition and support each other in a relaxed, welcoming environment.

Wondering What to Expect at a Shared Medical Appointment?             

Think of an SMA like a meeting of the minds. You, your providers and 10 to 15 other patients who are traveling a similar healthcare journey will meet for about 90 minutes. That’s longer than if you had a one-on-one appointment, so there’s plenty of time to talk and ask as many questions as you want. Here’s what else you can expect to happen:

  • We offer some SMAs as in-person meetings. Others are offered virtually, where you connect online using your smartphone, computer or tablet. And some SMAs combine both in-person and virtual patients.
  • If you’re participating virtually, we’ll send you instructions on how to log on to your secure MyChart® account before the appointment. Be sure to contact your insurance company beforehand to confirm that virtual visits are included in your plan.
  • If you’re meeting in person and need a private exam, you’ll have access to a separate exam room nearby.
  • Some SMAs also offer the opportunity to meet with other members of your healthcare team, like a dietitian or other specialist.

It’s important to know that shared medical appointments are not designed to treat urgent medical concerns that need immediate help from a specialist.

Women's health shared medical appointment.

What are the Benefits of a Shared Medical Appointment?

SMAs give you the chance to meet with other people facing similar health challenges, learn from their journeys and help them by sharing yours. This group experience can help you feel less alone and can provide emotional support along the way. Other benefits include:

  • An opportunity to talk in-depth about your health condition with your provider and with others who may be experiencing the same or similar symptoms.
  • A chance to learn more about your specific condition, talk about what treatments have worked for others and good options as a group.
  • A relaxed time to ask questions, talk about concerns and get valuable insights. No question is too small or too big. Chances are if you have a question, others have it too. And maybe something will come up in the group that you haven’t even thought about.
  • A safe place to share goals, make action plans, cheer each other on and celebrate small and big health victories.
  • The chance to supplement your routine care for chronic (lifelong) conditions, like multiple sclerosis or diabetes, and share practical tips for managing your day-to-day life.
  • Less time waiting for an appointment since you’ll be sharing your visit with others.

And don’t worry, even though you’re meeting as group, you’ll still get personal attention from your provider. They can focus on your needs and help others at the same time.

Are Shared Medical Appointments Confidential?

Yes, the information shared in an SMA is completely confidential. Each patient in the group signs a privacy waiver to assure a secure and private environment where you can share medical information.

Do Shared Medical Appointments Replace One-on-one Visits?

No. SMAs are not meant to replace regular appointments with your providers. They simply add another layer of care to your treatment plan at Cleveland Clinic. Their focus is on sharing your experiences with others who might be traveling the same healthcare journey in a supportive, educational and confidential environment. Your provider will prescribe medications and order labs at your one-on-one visit.

How Can You Join a Shared Medical Appointment?

Shared medical appointments are a new and interactive way to approach healthcare today. There are many benefits to meeting as a group and sharing common experiences. Think you’d like to participate in an SMA? Your provider can help you decide if a shared medical appointment is right for you.

Want to Learn More About Specific Shared Medical Appointments?

Here are details on a few:

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