Shared medical appointments: improving access, outcomes, and satisfaction for patients with chronic cardiac diseases

J Cardiovasc Nurs. Jan-Feb 2010;25(1):13-9. doi: 10.1097/JCN.0b013e3181b8e82e.


Improving access to care, health outcomes, and patient satisfaction are primary objectives for healthcare practices. This article outlines benefits, concerns, and possible challenges of shared medical appointments (SMAs) for patients and providers. The SMA model was designed to support providers' demanding schedules by allowing patients with the same chronic condition to be seen in a group setting. By concentrating on patient education and disease management, interactive meetings provide an opportunity for patients to share both successes and struggles with others experiencing similar challenges. Studies demonstrated that SMAs improved patient access, enhanced outcomes, and promoted patient satisfaction. This article describes the potential benefits of SMAs for patients with chronic heart disease, which consumes a large number of healthcare dollars related to hospital admissions, acute exacerbations, and symptom management. Education for self-management of chronic disease can become repetitive and time consuming. The SMA model introduces a fresh and unique style of healthcare visits, allowing providers to devote more time and attention to patients and improve productivity. The SMA model provides an outstanding method for nurse practitioners to demonstrate their role as a primary care provider, by leading patients in group discussions and evaluating their current health status. Patient selection, preparation, and facilitation of an SMA are discussed to demonstrate the complementary nature of an SMA approach in a healthcare practice.

MeSH terms

  • Appointments and Schedules*
  • Chronic Disease
  • Cooperative Behavior
  • Disease Management
  • Efficiency, Organizational
  • Group Processes*
  • Health Services Accessibility / organization & administration*
  • Heart Diseases / prevention & control*
  • Heart Diseases / psychology
  • Humans
  • Models, Nursing
  • Models, Organizational
  • Nurse Practitioners / organization & administration
  • Nurse's Role
  • Nursing Evaluation Research
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care
  • Patient Care Team / organization & administration
  • Patient Education as Topic / organization & administration*
  • Patient Satisfaction* / statistics & numerical data
  • Patient Selection
  • Primary Health Care / organization & administration
  • Self Care