Shared medical appointments for patients with vitiligo allowed improved access to dermatologic care without compromising patient satisfaction, according to a study.
“The proposed utility of shared medical appointments in dermatology is twofold: patients benefit from being able to schedule an appointment sooner, receive thorough education and meet other patients with a similar diagnosis,” Maggi Ahmed Refat, MBBCh, MSc, of the department of dermatology at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, and colleagues wrote.
The shared medical appointment (SMA) model was offered to new patients seeking treatment for vitiligo when they called to make an appointment.
The once-monthly SMA included a PowerPoint presentation for educational purposes, which described the clinical features of vitiligo, typical workup during a clinic visit, treatment options and research and emerging treatments. The remaining time was allotted for 15-minute private appointments.
A total of 83 patients attended 11 SMAs, of which 38 participants returned a satisfaction survey and 32 surveys were filled out completely. Nineteen patients were female and 12 were male; one participant declined to answer the question. Mean patient age was 28 years.
There were 68 new patients who attended traditional appointments, of whom 26 returned a survey, with 24 patients filling it out completely. Seventeen patients were female and seven were male and one patient declined to answer. Mean patient age was 34.2 years.
In the SMA model, the average satisfaction score was 4.81 out of 5 on the Likert scale compared with 4.87 in the traditional appointment model. The difference between the average satisfaction scores was not statistically significant.
More than 96% of patients who attended the SMA said the appointment was effective, and more than 71% said they would attend another SMA, according to researchers. Nearly half (46%) of patients who attended a SMA preferred the SMA to a traditional appointment, 68% stated they learned more about vitiligo with the SMA and 54% said they would be willing to participate in research studies.
SMAs may be useful to enhance patient learning of chronic conditions, they wrote.
The average wait time to gain a traditional appointment was 4 months, where it was only 2 months for an SMA appointment.
“Our study demonstrates the success of the SMA for vitiligo, and a similar approach can be implemented for other specialty clinics where education and timely visits are of high importance or when a provider is in high demand with many new patients,” Refat and colleagues wrote. – by Abigail Sutton
Disclosures: The authors report no relevant financial disclosures.