Trend of group appointments growing among people with type 1 diabetes or type 2 diabetes

For individuals with type 1 diabetes or type 2 diabetes, their next doctor's appointments may be more like a social outing.

Some people who have been diagnosed with the chronic illness are opting to engage in group appointments, which are modeled after those that have been used to treat psychiatric patients in the past. A recent article published in the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) indicates that physicians and patients alike are finding that these types of meetings provide necessary medical information and allow for peer discussions, which may help improve the patients' diabetes management.

The newspaper reported that group appointments are being held for patients with type 1 diabetes or type 2 diabetes, as well as those who have Parkinson's disease or high blood pressure. Each session may last between 90 minutes to two hours, a large increase from the typical 15-minute doctor-patient checkup.

"This is a new way of delivering healthcare. People are thirsting for better ways," Ray Dorsey, MD, told the news provider.

The news source cited a recent survey conducted by the American Academy of Family Physicians, which found that 10 percent of healthcare practitioners associated with the organization had implemented group appointment programs.

George Whiddon, MD, told the WSJ that conversations between patients may sometimes be more effective in promoting good diabetes management than physician lectures. He recalled one woman with uncontrolled diabetes who told members of her group that she neglected to heed her doctor's advice on eating healthy and increasing exercise, and subsequently had to have all but one of her toes amputated.

According to the American Diabetes Association, diabetics who take insulin treatments and those who have trouble managing their blood glucose levels should visit their doctor at least four times annually. Individuals who have controlled type 1 diabetes or type 2 diabetes may visit their physicians between two and four times per year, unless they begin taking new diabetes medications, or make changes to their diet or exercise plans, in which case additional appointments may be required.