Are Group Doctor Visits the New Dinner Date?

DSC04263.jpgGetting bored of doing the same old things over and over again with your friends? How about visiting the doctor together instead? While this might sound incredibly strange at first, group doctor visits are becoming a new trend. Believe it or not, group visits can allow more individualized care than single visits and can aide in the reduction of physician burnout.

A recent article by the New York Times highlighted the experiences of individuals in a doctor visit group. Many of us feel a bit like cattle during our appointments, shuffled in and out as quickly as possible, usually under a 10-minute time span. Even patients facing serious conditions such as cancer, Parkinson’s disease, and Multiple Sclerosis have complained about a lack of appointment availability. As our population continues to age, providing enough time for patient check-ins and general wellness discussions will become a struggle. Several studies have shown promise for group visits. Group visits can occur several times a year as health check-ins, or can be specific to a certain condition, like a diabetes support group.

Usually, several nurses monitor patient vital signs. Individual visits can then be scheduled for any red flags or serious concerns. The forum then opens up to general questions, and patients can dive into a rich discussion concerning common medical concerns and questions with their physician and one another. Particularly for weight loss and diabetes prevention, Sama Hamdy, medical director of the Obesity Clinical Program at Joslin, and an assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School says, “People in groups do much better than individually.” “They find wonderful friendships and motivate each other.”

Group visits may also prove beneficial to physicians. We often forget that while we are sitting angrily tapping our foot in the waiting room, physicians are running around from patient-to-patient, utterly burnt-out and exhausted. Over 50% of physicians now report having at least one symptom of burnout. Additionally, a study of almost 8,000 surgeons found that major medical errors correlated strongly to a surgeon’s degree of burnout.

Physicians are not only seeing an exorbitant amount of patient daily, but also dealing with a large amount for medical data. We just returned from ACR 2016 in Washington, D.C., and the majority of conversations at our booth revolved around coordinating access to patient information. When we look at imaging specifically, we see that studies have become the #1 contributor to the explosion of healthcare data. According to AT&T’s For Health group, U.S. health care providers typically perform up to 600 million imaging procedures a year. Image archives are expected to expand at a rate of up to 40% per year as advances in imaging lead to more detailed and effective scans.

Here at DICOM Grid, we believe the future of an interoperable medical imaging landscape lies in the cloud.  There are a multitude of reasons why innovative organizations are turning to cloud image management. Cloud delivery is often much more cost effective than on-premise systems – because there’s no need to maintain and upgrade them. That happens automatically. Better yet, they include backup as standard, lowering business continuity risk. The cloud allows for rapid and efficient exchange among care providers, enhanced workflows firing away routing rules that successfully automate processes, scalable vendor neutral archiving capabilities, mobile viewing capabilities from anywhere and anytime, and seamless access to data within EMR and RIS systems.

To find out how the cloud is revolutionizing future imaging initiatives, join us for our webinar this Wednesday, May 25 and hear from two physician founders!

Catherine Slotnick, Marketing Manager

About Catherine Slotnick

Catherine Slotnick is a passionate healthcare marketer with a deep interest in the latest & greatest in the Health IT space. As Ambra Health's Director of Marketing, Catherine primarily focuses on creating and sharing thought leadership content in the radiology and informatics space. Catherine graduated from the University of Virginia with a BA in Psychology & Art History. When she's not writing, she enjoys cooking and petting dogs that aren't hers.

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