NSMC News Releases
A group of six patients sit attentively across from Terence Doorly, M.D., as he starts their 90-minute Shared Medical Appointment (SMA). In turn, each steps up to the front of the room for an individual consultation. Their radiological studies – usually pertaining to a spine or neck injury, Dr. Doorly’s specialty – are displayed on a large-screen television for all to see as he discusses possible causes and treatment options. Referring often to anatomical models of the spine and drawings on a white board, Dr. Doorly explains each diagnosis at length. By the time the session is over, each patient leaves having all of his or her questions answered – plus a few they might never have thought to ask. "Patients like the shared appointments because not only can they get in to see me a lot sooner – I hold SMAs every Wednesday morning – they also get a full hour and a half of education,” says Dr. Doorly, who has been offering group appointments at the North Shore Physicians Group (NSPG) practice location in Danvers since July 2010. “They get the same level of personal attention that they would during an individual appointment, plus the added benefit of learning from the experiences of other patients.”
Dr. Doorly is the first physician in Partners HealthCare to offer Shared Medical Appointments, an innovative new healthcare delivery model that has been taking root across the country as part of the movement toward patient-centered care. "
Based on Doorly's success, NSPG’s Ernesto DaSilva, M.D., an internal medicine physician, will start offering SMAs later this month.
“Shared Medical Appointments are a great way to improve access to our busy physicians and make more efficient use of everyone’s time,” says Evelina Sands, NSPG’s Administrative Director. “Our goal in these appointments is to discuss treatment options with patients as well as how to maintain or improve their overall health.”
NSPG currently has one space that was designed specifically for group medical appointments located in their Danvers practice, but more are being discussed as the SMA grows in popularity. Assisting Dr. Doorly with each shared appointment is a team consisting of a nurse practitioner, a patient service representative and a medical transcriptionist. Together, they check patients in, manage the individual consultations and facilitate medication orders and follow-up visits. They also have each patient sign a privacy and confidentiality agreement.
“Response to the shared appointment has been very positive,” says Dr. Doorly. “I’ve found that patients may feel a little modest in the group setting at first because it’s so different from what they’re used to, but that they quickly engage in the process and really seem to enjoy the group dynamic. Everyone comments on how informative the sessions are. One patient joked that he felt like he should have been given a medical degree when his session was over.”