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Are Group Visits to the Doc the Right Choice for You?

Are Group Visits to the Doc the Right Choice for You?

Sometimes it can feel overwhelming to manage every aspect of type 2 diabetes, am I right? And sometimes it feels impossible to retain everything your doctor told you, or maybe your whole appointment felt rushed. Research is showing us that there might be a better way for patients to get the help they need.

First, let’s talk about what it takes, according to the American Diabetes Association, to stay on top of this chronic condition: regular medical care, self-management education, and ongoing diabetes support.

Unfortunately, you probably get about 15 minutes with your doctor when you visit, which probably makes you feel like there’s no possible way to talk about and absorb everything you need to. In addition, finding self-management education through your physician can be a challenge, as can finding the type of ongoing diabetes support you need.

What’s one possible answer to all of these problems? Group visits.

I know, it might sound a little weird to be going to the doctor with other people, and maybe you think you wouldn’t even be comfortable doing such a thing, but hear me out!

First of all, what is a group visit, exactly? Well, it depends on your doctor, but it’s usually something you participate in along with your regular one-on-one visits. You and a group of perhaps 10-15 other people with the same condition meet for a longer period of time, say an hour or two. The first hour may be with a doctor or nurse practitioner, and the second hour might be with another support member, like a behavioral specialist, nutritionist, or health educator.

During the session it’s often the group members that steer the conversation: Whatever is currently bothering you or someone else in the group can be brought to the table, and you can get insight from both members of the group and your health care team. In addition, the specialists will provide education and insights based on exactly what the group needs help with, or with the topic scheduled for that day.

The visits may take place monthly, bi weekly, or even weekly, depending on the practice and the length of the group’s total meet time.

So what are the benefits of this type of visit? Well, research has shown that some pretty cool stuff happens when Type 2 Diabetes patients are engaged in this type of group setting. It appears to help patients lower their hemoglobin A1c as well as their blood pressure, not to mention be responsible for fewer urgent care visits, fewer specialty care visits, increased patient satisfaction, and to help improve diabetes knowledge, among other things.

That sounds pretty good, right? So what should you do if you want to take advantage of this type of appointment?

First, call your healthcare provider to see if they offer group visits for people living with type 2 diabetes. If they do, awesome, see if you’re eligible to join and find out when you can start!

If your physician doesn’t offer such a service, find out if they’d ever consider starting one, or if they know of any in your area.

Group visits are still a pretty new thing when it comes to caring for patients with type 2 diabetes, but the results thus far are pretty impressive. If you want more support and better self-management skills, this could be a great thing to try.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.