Implementing SMAs at UC San Diego Health System
UC San Diego Health System, one of the nation’s premier academic medical institutions, looked to adopt shared medical appointments (SMAs) to improve the time patients spend with physicians and patient involvement in their care. Experts steered UCSD to Cambria Health, which used its value assessment tool to select three pilot SMAs in AIDS/HIV, diabetes and liver disease. Cambria and UCSD leaders commenced a 90-day implementation phase, with regular consultative phone calls as SMA teams were assembled. Cambria came out to do training for the teams and help conduct mock appointments.
The results have been that patients who took part in the SMAs no longer feel isolated in their disease, finding education and support from fellow patients. Staff have found greater emotional connection to their work, and physicians are enthusiastic champions of the SMA care model. All stakeholders noted the value of increased face and education time with the physician.
The early results of shared medical appointments at UC San Diego Health System have validated the Cambria assessment tool and are positive enough that it is only a matter of time before other specialties and general internal medicine get their own SMAs.