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Author Professor Fraser Birrell,
Categories Adult Social Care, Health and care
Resource type Blog
Publishing body Personalised Care Insitute

The Power of Virtual Group Consultations

Why is everyone excited about virtual group consultations?

Group consultations are clinical consultations delivered to a group of patients with similar conditions or needs. Patients benefit from a person-centred model of care which gives time for them to discuss what matters to them while also benefiting from peer support, better access and continuity. Clinicians benefit from more time to address the problems that matter to patients, not needing to repeat the same advice and report genuinely joyful experiences. The approach can also reduce service pressures.

Group consultations are sometimes regarded as a new care model, but have been embedded in NHS practice since 2008, for several chronic conditions, including inflammatory arthritis, chronic pain and diabetes.

This care model has been around for much longer than you think. Dr Joseph Pratt first used this to address healthcare inequality in 1905 for patients with TB in Massachusetts. He scaled the first group consultation model for chronic diseases widely across America and developed group psychotherapy too.

For the modern NHS there is good long-term data showing group consultations meet Healthcare’s Quintuple Aim. This is a patient co-authored expansion of Don Berwick’s Triple Aim, adding the clinician satisfaction and education elements to provide the most comprehensive summary of what great care looks like:

  • Good outcomes
  • Patient satisfaction
  • Clinician satisfaction
  • Cost effective
  • Effective education
The Power of Virtual Group Consultations