Shared Medical Appointments (SMAs)

What Patients Say They Like Best about SMAs…

  • "Knowing I am not alone"
  • "More informative"
  • "Receive a better understanding"
  • "Others experience is interesting and valuable"
  • "Comparison of individual labs and stats"
  • "Comparison of previous visit progress and correlation"
  • "See changes compared to time of the year"
  • "More time with my provider"
  • "Opportunities to ask questions"
  • "Thank you for inviting me--I left more hopeful"
  • "Motivational"
  • "Peer pressure: good to share and compare"
  • "I learned from the experience of others"
  • "Supportive"
  • "Dr. Haney's willingness to share his information"
  • "I feel the care in the room"
  • "Atmosphere"
  • "Shared problem forum"
  • "Meet people"
  • "Relaxed feeling and setting"
  • "I Love This!"

Do you wish you could say one of the above statements about your last medical appointment? If so, a Shared Medical Appointment (SMA), where you receive healthcare in a relaxed group setting, could be just the right fit for you.

What Happens During An SMA?

An SMA occurs when multiple patients with common needs are seen as a group. Some SMAs are for the management of chronic conditions such as Diabetes, Metabolic Syndrome or Asthma. The visits are with a physician and an additional staff member, usually an RN, who serves as a facilitator. During your SMA you'll be able to receiving ongoing support for your chronic health conditions, change or renew prescriptions, receive test results, discuss medications and treatment options, and receive medical exams and immunizations. Private exams can occur before or after the SMA if needed.

All information that is discussed in the SMA is confidential. Patients and guests must sign a consent form in accordance with HIPAA guidelines agreeing to keep all information shared in a Shared Medical Appointment confidential. Depending on the type of visit, an SMA can have anywhere from 5 to 20 patients in attendance. Patients who attend SMAs have the ability to share experiences and advice with one another. SMAs include individual evaluation and management of each patient, as well as counseling with the group as a whole. While an individual appointment typically lasts 15 to 30 minutes, an SMA is 90 minutes long, allowing participants to spend more time with the healthcare team.

We also have SMAs in place for Preventative Medicine visits. Monthly SMAs are held for our patients with Medicare to complete either their Welcome to Medicare Visit or their Annual Medicare Wellness Visit. Other appointment types that we are working to develop include 50-year-old Annual Wellness Visits, Well Child Checks and OB visits. These SMAs would allow time for private exams first before bringing patients together for comprehensive education and the opportunity for attendees to share experiences with one another.

Benefits of Attending an SMA

Some of the benefits patients appreciate from SMAs include an enhanced awareness and ability to care for their chronic conditions, increased satisfaction, and better outcomes. SMAs also promote a fun and interactive atmosphere and our patients genuinely enjoy attending their regular SMAs. In addition, our physicians report improved outcomes with lab values, a decreased incidence of complications from chronic disease, as well as an improvement with weight management. Studies have shown that weight loss is substantially greater in participants who regularly attend group sessions, such as SMAs. Many of our patients have participated in the Ideal Protein Weight Loss Method offered at Family Health Care and dieters who regularly attend SMAs tend to have greater success with achieving and maintaining weight loss.

History of SMAs at Family Health Care

SMAs were originally piloted in our clinic by Dr. Byron Haney back in 2009 and have expanded since then due to the amazing results we've seen with patients who attend SMAs. Dr. Haney's success with SMAs has led to speaking invitations by clinics and organizations across the U.S. For the last 3 years, Dr. Haney has been invited to speak on the subject of SMAs for the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) during their Annual International Summit on Improving Patient Care in the Office Practice and the Community. IHI is an independent not-for-profit organization that works with health care providers and leaders throughout the world to achieve safe and effective health care. IHI focuses on motivating and building the will for change, identifying and testing new models of care in partnership with both patients and health care professionals, and ensuring the broadest possible adoption of best practices and effective innovations. In order to be a keynote speaker for IHI, the subject you speak on must meet the "Triple Aim" and SMAs do this by:

  • Improving the patient experience of care (including quality and satisfaction);
  • Improving the health of populations; and
  • Reducing the per capita cost of health care.

How Much Does an SMA cost?

Although SMAs are longer and more comprehensive than a traditional medical visit, they are not more expensive. Your health insurance company will be billed as usual and any regular appointment co-payments will apply.

How Can I Participate?

If you have not experienced an SMA, talk with your medical provider during your routine office visit to determine if SMAs are a fit for you. You can also call us to see if there is an SMA that will address your health concerns. On occasion, one of our nurses may contact you if a new SMA is created that may be beneficial for you.