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April 2010

Shared Medical Appointments: Will Changes in Health Care Delivery and Financing Promote Increased Use of Nonphysician Clinicians in Dermatology Patient Counseling?

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliations: Department of Dermatology and Phillip R. Lee Institute for Health Policy Studies, University of California, San Francisco, School of Medicine, San Francisco (Dr Resneck); and Departments of Dermatology and Epidemiology, University of Iowa, Iowa City (Dr VanBeek).

Arch Dermatol. 2010;146(4):434-436. doi:10.1001/archdermatol.2010.49

In this issue of the Archives, Sidorsky and colleagues1 present an economic analysis of implementing a system of shared medical appointments (SMAs) in an academic dermatology practice. This type of clinic organization, in which patients with a similar diagnosis participate in group teaching on the same day as a physician visit to reduce redundant counseling, is little known within the field of dermatology. We applaud the authors for undertaking an analysis of the economic feasibility of SMAs and for sharing their experience. While we have several methodological concerns with the study and further analyses will be required to assess patient satisfaction, practicality, and generalizability outside of Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, the authors present a timely analysis of a new care delivery model at a time when several pressures brought about by a changing health care delivery system may align to encourage team models that increase physician efficiency.

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