Shared medical appointments (SMAs) are an innovative way for multidisciplinary teams to work together to meet veteran needs and encourage adherence to healthy lifestyle recommendations.
Objective: The purpose of this study was to explore the experiences of veterans who participated in SMAs.
Method: Focus groups were utilized to obtain information about SMA experiences. This method encouraged veterans to expand on and clarify the meaning of their experiences. Audio recordings were transcribed and analyzed by the researchers using N'Vivo software and an exploratory process to obtain consensus about themes.
Results: The following themes emerged as a result of the focus group analysis: "empowerment, peer support, awareness, positive provider characteristics, teamwork, benefits, and convenience."
Conclusions: Veterans reported improvement in their overall health and well-being, improved self-management skills, and satisfaction with the SMA format. Veterans reported feeling empowered to improve their health and described a deep connection with their peers and group leaders. The connection they experienced with other veterans in the SMAs was similar to the close-knit relationships held with other members of their military unit.