Group visits, also known as shared medical appointments, are an innovative way of generating a new revenue stream for your practice. Group visits allow you to grow your patient volume without having to extend your schedule or bring on additional staff. So how does it work?
A shared medical appointment is a visit where multiple patients are seen in a group, typically for follow up care. Appointments last an average of 90 minutes and may have 10-15 patients depending on the type of visit. The visits are with a healthcare 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.
Research on the use of group visits has established several benefits such as improved access to medical care; better monitoring of complex, chronic care needs for a high-risk populations; and conducting routine annual physical examinations.
Who benefits from Group Visits?
Group visits are especially beneficial for patients who need the following care:
- Patients needing routine follow up care maybe due to chronic conditions
- Patients seeking more information regarding their specific health issues
- Patients who require mind and body care
However, group visits are not appropriate for every patient. The program should not be used to:
- Replace regular individual visits with a physician
- Be used as a one-time consultation
- Treat urgent medical concerns
- Diagnose and treat complex medical care
Group visits can be a win, win for you and your patients. Your practice benefits by allowing for more appointments in an already crowded schedule – i.e. more revenue. Your patients benefit by creating a closer bond with your staff encouraging them to continue with regular visits and remain loyal to your practice.