Context: Obesity and diabetes are epidemic in the United States, with many treatment options having limited long-term efficacy. A possible effective medical management tool is the shared medical appointment (SMA), which offers an efficient and cost-effective approach to behavior change and aligns with the Triple Aim (reduce costs, improve population health, and improve patient care experience) set forth by the Institute for Healthcare Improvement.
Objectives: To assess the effectiveness of SMAs to achieve the Triple Aim and to improve the management of overweight/obesity or diabetes.
Methods: Peer-reviewed literature from PubMed was searched by the keywords shared medical appointments, group medical appointment, and group medical visit, with no date restrictions and limited to English publications with sample sizes greater than or equal to 20.
Results: Eight articles met inclusion criteria. The Triple Aim was not referenced in the studies, but most reported some combination of reduced costs, improved care, and improved outcomes or patient satisfaction.
Conclusions: Potential benefits of SMAs include improved patient outcomes and satisfaction. Osteopathic and, in particular, primary care medicine could likely benefit from moving toward greater adoption of SMAs; however, more randomized controlled trials are needed to assess their effectiveness with regard to the Triple Aim.