Chronic disease management using the traditional 15-minute appointment is exceptionally challenging and arguably inadequate to provide comprehensive, prospective, patient-centered primary care. A model of care designed to promote patient education, patient self-management, and improved access to their physicians and other health care providers is needed. Group visits have been identified as one model that allows physicians to deliver extensive patient education and self-management instruction while enhancing financial productivity. A thorough review of the literature on group visits was performed. Fairly consistent results from level I and II quality of evidence from a revised Strength of Recommendation Taxonomy (SORT) rating system indicate that patients who attended group visits demonstrated improved standards of care, improved quality of life, greater patient and physician satisfaction, lower rates of hospitalization and emergency department utilization, and reduced specialty costs. Discrepancies from the literature review include body mass index, hemoglobin A1C, blood pressure, and lipids. Overall, group visits appear to provide an effective and complementary strategy to traditional primary care in dealing with the complexities of providing chronic disease management in an increasing complex and aging population.
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