Intended for healthcare professionals


Shared medical appointments

BMJ 2017; 358 doi: (Published 30 August 2017) Cite this as: BMJ 2017;358:j4034

Chinese translation


  1. Benedict Hayhoe,
  2. Anju Verma,
  3. Sonia Kumar
  1. Department of Primary Care and Public Health, School of Public Health, Imperial College London, UK
  1. b.hayhoe{at}

A promising response to escalating demand for healthcare

Demand for healthcare is escalating, owing to ageing populations and increasing case complexity. Healthcare systems globally are facing unprecedented and rising deficits, with the prospect of punishing cuts to essential services. Consequently, new models for providing safe and effective care for patients while reducing healthcare costs are urgently sought. One such innovation is the shared medical appointment (SMA).

Shared medical appointments

First proposed by Noffsinger,1 shared medical appointments were conceived as a clinical encounter in which patients receive healthcare, from one or more health professionals, in a group setting. This includes patient education and counselling, physical examination, and clinical support. Patients attending shared appointments usually share a key attribute, such as medical condition.

Sharing elements with traditional patient education groups, shared appointments uniquely incorporate clinical interventions, such as history taking, examination, and clinical management. During appointments of about 90 minutes, up to 12 patients can share experiences, interact with facilitating professionals as a group, and receive one to one care. Variations on this model have the clinical component delivered in a group setting, with patients able to listen and contribute to other consultations, or as private one to one consultations held in parallel with …

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