When in PA school I heard of a PA that was getting group visits started up. The idea was appealing and as I learned more, I was even more determine to make it part of my own practice.
Now that I have my first group up and running, the one thing I can say about it is it takes a team. Setting it up on your own in a facility that hasn’t yet had an experience with group visits will be challenging, though certainly not impossible.
Providing a few recommendations based on my experience below.
But first, let’s dive into why I wanted to make this happen.
Benefits of group visits:
- It helps build community for patients who have similar experiences.
- It’s my passion project and brings me joy. It allows me to combine nutrition, mindful movement, and medicine all together.
- Group visits add variety to my schedule and therefore help manage burnout.
- They increase the number of patients seen without as much “after-work” (labs, images mychart msg etc)
- Potential to be even MORE financially lucrative (ie 12 patients an hour vs 3 patients an hour at my baseline.
To note, my schedule is blocked off for two hours for my group visit. It’s not added or extra work to my current schedule.
Key steps to getting group visits started:
- Work at a facility that already has group visits. This means there is already a process in place for facilitation.
- Crowdsource for help. Having someone or a team who can help with referrals, ensuring patients can utilize the platform the group visit is hosted on (my group visit is virtual so I had help ensuring patients knew how to use Google Meet). I had SO much help for my visits. I work at a larger facility and there is someone who is absolutely amazing and has a dedicated role of assisting with getting groups set up. I tried going it alone the first time I tried setting them up and it was a flop. You’ll need help!
- Start recruiting patients for your group at least 3 months before the group begins. It takes a lot of time!
- Plan for 30-50% of the group to drop out or no show on any given week. If you want 12 in the group, aim to recruit 12-36.
- The most most most most most helpful thing is taking this course. The Integrative Center for Group Medical Visits have streamlined and pioneered getting group visits set up. AND they will answer all of your questions about billing and logistics. They are truly experts in the field and if you’re serious about getting this set up in a sustainable way, I consider this course to be imperative.