Health gains of group visits

TRADITIONALLY, primary care has been carried out in a one-to-one situation, with an expert care­giver and a patient. 

The process serves us well with injuries and infectious diseases. However, it is less appropriate for the modern chronic diseases that have a predominantly lifestyle-based aetiology and require longer-term management. 

Most of the modern chronic diseases have one, or a combination of, major ‘causes’. Dealing with these issues is more of a process than a content issue. How do you motivate people to change unhealthy behaviours in an environment that lures them into an easy and abundant lifestyle that humans have always craved?

The individual consultation is hindered, not only by the limited time available for complex behavioural coaching, but by clinicians’ frustration in trying to encourage patients to eat better, exercise more and live a healthier lifestyle. New approaches are needed.