Group visits, also known as shared medical appointments, can be a valuable tool for managing chronic conditions such as obesity. They allow physicians to efficiently spend more time offering general education and self-management instructions about the condition, while still providing individual evaluations. Sometimes community partners (e.g., grocers, fitness instructors, or dieticians) are even willing to pitch in and offer goods or services to help the group.
But are group visits a good idea during a global pandemic? Probably not in-person, but this might be the perfect time to establish a virtual group visit program. An article published in The Lancet Digital Health found that virtual group visits were a valuable tool for reducing backlogs of appointments cancelled during COVID-19 stay-home orders. It also found that virtual group visits provided social support for patients feeling isolated because of social distancing. Doing group visits via telemedicine also helps physicians recover revenue lost to the pandemic and allows patients more privacy if they want it (they can turn off their video and just participate via audio).
Read the related article in FPM: “How to Use Group Visits to Manage Obesity.”
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