Group visits for urology deliver efficiency, patient satisfaction

February 1, 2011

Simultaneously giving patients added contact with their physician while also allowing them to talk about their condition with others, group shared appointments are applicable to a number of urologic conditions.

Group shared appointments are an increasingly popular way to improve patient access for busy practices. Simultaneously giving patients added contact with their physician while also allowing them to talk about their condition with others, group shared appointments are applicable to a number of urologic conditions. In this interview, Eugene Rhee, MD, MBA, explains how shared appointments work, what their advantages are, and how they can be applied to your practice. Dr Rhee is chief of urologic surgery at Kaiser Permanente, San Diego. He was interviewed by Urology Times Editorial Consultant Philip M. Hanno, MD, MPH, professor of urology at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia.

Q What is a group shared appointment?

Q How did this concept come about?

A I'd love to take credit for it, but it's not anything new. It was originated in 1996 at Kaiser Permanente in Northern California by a psychologist, Dr. Edward Noffsinger. He referred to the GSA as a drop-in group medical appointment, or DIGMA

Q Where else in the U.S. are GSAs being done?

A Today, these appointments are being done at places like Harvard Vanguard and Cleveland Clinic. I know that Dr. Bill Steers, chairman of urology at the University of Virginia, is now implementing them at his institution as well.

This is a very outside-the-box concept compared to "doorknob medicine" or traditional, one-on-one appointments. In Westernized countries, particularly the United States, people are comfortable in a group therapy type of setting. I am not aware of GSAs being adopted outside the U.S

Q What are the differences between the cooperative health care clinic, the disease-specific cooperative health care clinic, and the drop-in group medical appointment?