Damn — scooped again. Every time I go to the doctor and see that sign for “shared medical appointments” I say to myself — good story. Then I remember – I should not reports on doctors in the practice where I get care.
Once when going for a prenatal test at the Univeristy of North Carolina hospital, I lay on the table in a very vulnerable position as a doctor approached me with a very large needle. Didn’t you interview me for a story once? he asked. The giant, disorganized Rolodex in my brain spun and, amazingly, I remembered. I did interview him, but didn’t quote him. Some people take offense to that. Yes, I did and while I didn’t quote you in the story, our conversation helped me get a better grip on the topic. A stock answer but true.
In 2008, Harvard Vanguard began offering “shared medical appointments,” or SMAs. They’re not classes, emphasizes internist Gretchen Gaida. SMAs are scheduled for physicals, well-child checkups, chronic illness management and other types of primary care, as well as for specialty care. Six to 14 patients, who sign agreements to keep information about the others confidential, participate. SMAs last 1½ hours, but patients can leave when they feel their questions have been answered. Doctors take blood pressures and listen to hearts in front of the room but examine patients in a private room when necessary.
Physicians bill the same for patients seen in an SMA or individually. Considering doctors might schedule only four individual patient visits in 90 minutes, Gaida says, income from SMAs enables Harvard Vanguard to pay for the extra health professionals needed to run them smoothly.
Finally, since I’m in rare, chitty-chatty first person mode, check out my post on Nature Network Boston about how that same baby may have been caught up in the Harvard psych research scandal.
Something about Mark Hauser’s now questionable research sounded familiar to me. Then I read that he worked with Harvard researcher Elizabeth Spelke.
Turns out I enrolled my infant son (now 12) in one of her experiments. And the study that appears to be based on the data includes Hauser as a co-author.