Group Medical Visits – Patient Acceptance and Attendance of the New Primary Care Model
Ergebnisse aus der deutschen Pilotstudiegerman translation / full article
Results from the German Pilot Study
Background: While the number of family practitioners in Germany declines, the number of chronically ill patients increases. This is threatening primary care in Germany. If this threat is to be averted, individual physicians as well as health policy makers will have to react. New treatment models in primary care could offer a way out. Faced with similar challenges, other countries have made use of medical group visits (GMV) to improve primary care for chronically ill and to reduce the physicians’ workload.
Methods: Two family practitioners introduced GMV following the Chronic Health Care Clinics (CHCC) model, which had been adapted to the German health care system. Per physician, two groups of twelve patients each were created. These patients groups were then invited to participate in six GMV over the course of twelve months. This was accompanied by a prospective, randomized controlled trial. The assessment of the patients’ acceptance of the new model of care was based on three different factors: their interest in participating in GMV, their actual participation in GMV and their feedback surveyed by a questionnaire following the study period.
Results: In both family care practices, the willingness to attend GMV was higher than assumed prior to the launch of the study and higher than described in published studies. Over the course of the twelve month study period, the average participation rate of ten patients per GMV was achieved. Patients stated that it had been easy for them to engage in discussion with peers about their personal healthcare and therapy experiences. Patients declared to have profited from the therapy experiences others patients had shared in the GMV and believed other GMV-participants had benefited from the shared experiences too. Both family practitioners continued to offer GMV beyond the study period and extended their GMV program to new disease areas.
Conclusions: Prior to the launch of the study, physicians stated that they believed patients would only be interested in one-on-one visits and would refuse the GMV concept. This paper shows the contrary: The patients found the new model of care to be very valuable. They claimed to have personally benefited from the experiences shared by other participants and believed that other attendees had also benefited.