Why are SMA's beneficial?

The need for improved access and stress on our nation’s health care has resulted in creative solutions in tackling these challenges. Shared Medical appointments (or SMA's) are an innovative way of creating appointment access and an opportunity for improving the quality of care for our patients. A shared medical appointment is a visit where multiple patients are seen in a group, usually for follow up care. Patients have the benefit of a longer visit with the physician and when appropriate, access to other members of the health care team, such as a nutritionist or health educator.

Cleveland Clinic is expanding our use of this care model as an option to deliver high quality care in an efficient and effective setting that allows you, the patient, to have a more meaningful relationship with your physician and extended staff. This session provides sharing of information and the answering of questions in an informative and supportive environment. Educated patients have better disease control and shared medical appointments are part of a new wave in medical care. Each patient signs a waiver and confidentiality agreement to assure a secure and private environment in which to share medical information.

Shared appointments can address the hurdles encountered in the traditional one on one office visit: time constraints, other co-morbidity medical conditions, and lack of education resources to name a few. Shared medical appointments last an average of 90 minutes and may have 10-15 patients depending on the type of visit. The visits are with a health care provider, such as a physician or a nurse practitioner. An additional staff member serves as a facilitator. This person may be an RN, behavioralist, psychologist or other physician extender with expertise on the topic. These visits allow 1 topic such as diabetes or hypertension to be addressed over a 90 minute visit. All information that is discussed in the shared medical appointment is confidential.

This program is completely voluntary and more beneficial for certain patients. If you have not experienced a shared medical appointment, talk to your physician and see if it is right for you.