Saw this online today about group appointments being used to help people with diabetes and immediately thought of TuD. To me, this website kinda feels like one big giant group appointment for people with diabetes. I mean, I learn more on this site about managing T1 than I've ever learned from an endocrinologist! When I ask my endocrinologist a question, I often get an honest, "I don't know." However, when I ask a question on here, I get tons of accurate, informed responses.
Interesting concept! My first response is "no way, no how". I always have a list of questions when I go to a doctor and utilize every moment of my allotted time to get answers and process responses. I would find it frustrating to share that time with others who had other things on their list! But reading the article it sounds like there is also ample 1:1 time and that what it really seems to amount to is a support group following that individual time, but one led by the doctor and with time for questions and answer. The respondents list all the positives that I see coming from any support group setting: shared ideas, knowing you're not alone, etc.
For myself, don't really talk much about my type 1 with my doctor as he doesn't know much about it and I prefer to manage my own D. The support group I enjoyed was one which was just peer facilitated so we could determine our own content. But this idea does seem to work for many people such as the newly diagnosed and those who are not comfortable initiating discussion with their doctors. Interesting concept.
As for TuD, yes, I agree 100% that most of what I have learned about Type 1 I've learned on here and with my own experience. I have always gotten a good variety of useful responses to any question I've asked on here. I'll share one experience of asking a question with the only endo I've ever seen. This was in Guatemala. After seeing her she said she'd review my labs and then e-mail her instructions. I got an e-mail telling me to take "between 1 and 3 units of Apidra before meals". I e-mailed back asking about I:C ratios. The endo (who spoke English) had gone on vacation and her secretary/nurse said her translation software couldn't handle "I:C ratios". I doubt I would have gotten a better answer in English. (though she also was honest in her "I don't knows" which I appreciated.
I figured group appoinment$ are a way for docs to make $$$? If you have a level three or four visit, it's maybe $150-300, depending on the breaks but, if you get 10 people for $100 each you 1) make $1000 and 2) perhaps get happier patients w/ the communal experience, in the same amount of time? A win/ win for sure!
TuD is a great example of why crowdsourcing rules. You always get a range of opinions to your questions and often learn something new.
I have learned more here in a few months than I have in 37 years with D. I ask questions and answer questions and no matter what I ask, someone has experienced or dealt with it and can respond or at least give me a place to get the information I am seeking. Unless the endo actually lives with D, or really specializes in strictly D, they have plenty of other endocrinological stuff to deal with, thyroid, metabolic disorders, etc, I have gotten decent support and info from the CDE but the endo is useful only to write rx's. I think AR is right about the potential profit margin from group appointments but I think I will stick here this is definitely my giant group appointment of shared experiences and concern for each other.
The wealth of information, knowledge, and experience here on TD is priceless!!
I'll take this group appointment any day and it's free!!! It has helped me so much. The biggest help was giving me the confidence to switch from a doctor who charged me, but never saw me except when his nurse handed him prescriptions and this same nurse laughed at me when I asked about low carb and when I said I thought a cgm would help me she replied "you know those things aren't accurate". I never would have gotten as much insight as I have here. We are all different, but seeing how each other copes helps.
Actually, in reading the article, it seems like they end up spending more time with patients. Patients still receive the one-on-one visit with the doc (and let's face it, how often do you really get more than 5 minutes with a doctor anyway?) followed by the "group" appointment.
Seriously, TuDiabetes has saved me from having to make quite a few doctors appointments already. I realize it's not supposed to substitute as "medical advice," but managing T1D is really only learned through experience. And think about it - we probably have (collectively speaking) at least a 1,000 years of diabetes experience on this site!
I took a several-weeks-long sleep course from a specialist with seven or eight of his other patients (insomnia, apnea, or in my case, genetic lack of a natural circadian rhythm.) We kept sleep logs, tried things he suggested, learned from the discussion, it was very helpful. I would love to do the same thing with a similarly dedicated and informed diabetes doctor. The problem with diabetes seems to be that dedicated and informed doctors are few and far between. Sigh.
I actually think group appointments can be very effective both for the medical team and for patients. Often, we all deal with the same sorts of things, it can be hard for the medical team to repeat stuff over and over again. It can be much more efficient to talk to a group. And I think many of us feel like we can almost never get actual attention from our endos. We only get 15 minutes and we spend the first half of the appointment coming up to speed and the last half dealing with action items. We almost never get to actually discuss anything.
And from a patient's point of view, it can help knowing that others are dealing with the same thing and often other patients are as helpful as the doctors. This is where tuD fits in. But I also worry that group appointments may not preserve my private medical information. This is an issue remains, both for group appointments and at tuD. I'm not sure how I would deal with walking into a group appointment and seeing a professional contact in the group. I've had to deal with that in my support group and we dealt with it by coming to an understanding that we would only discuss diabetes in the group or in private conversation.
So I would be happy to do group appointments for certain things to get more actual attention and value out of my medical team. But when it comes to turning to other patients for help, I certainly go with tuD.
I would assume these group appointments would go by the same confidentiality standards as support groups to: "what is said here, stays here" (and individual participants can agree to talk about things concerning just the two of them outside if they wish). I would hope the doctor would clarify that at the outset just as a group facilitator should. I also hope that the "group" whenever possible remains the same members at appointments. Groups form "cultures" or ways of relating that can be very positive. TuD has the most positive culture of any online community I've ever seen. I did enjoy when I had a live support group (type 1 women's group) though.
I don't need support when I feel good and I can't feel better in a circle of other diabetes with unresolved problemes. Today I saw the doctor for prescription, I needed strips since I've monitored my food for 3 weeks after having begun low carb diet.She (dr) was surprised " there is no need to check BS more often then once a week", and gives me papers with high carb diet so called healthy piramide with pictures of pasta, rice and etc.
I asked " who tells you that is good for diabetes, pasta,rice, etc "
It is a pressure from producers of medications.That was her answer.
Poland has been open for international companies for 20 years and is flooded with medicaments;
Well at least your Dr. was being honest. We get the same advice in the U.S. and for the same reason IMHO. To top it off testing only once a week means the patient has no way of knowing the damage they are doing.
How sad; then we are told about plague of diabetes,as a new epidemia,how sad.
I am limited to one strip a week, and told to eat high carbs as healthy for me;after 10 years I developed more problems with heart,eyes and neuropathy etc... Diabetes are potentialy good clients for med companies and don't fail in bringing steady money.