Common complaints in the healthcare industry are the long wait times to see the doctor. Lutheran HealthCare tackled this issue head on by creating an innovative style of patient care, the shared medical appointment (SMA). The SMA is a 90-minute-long appointment involving a group of patients and a healthcare team. Patients are afforded the opportunity to ask questions, discuss concerns, and hear answers to questions they may not have thought of asking. This unique dynamic allows for interaction with and learning from other patients as well as healthcare providers. Not only do patients receive more face time with healthcare providers, many form relationships with fellow patients who are similar to them.
Lutheran has active SMA groups that meet regularly, including in adult medicine, bariatrics, and multiple groups in the prenatal department. The creation of the SMA program not only empowers patients to take a more active role in their healthcare, but eliminates the time patients spend in the waiting room.