(HealthDay News) — Shared medical appointments (SMAs) with a group of patients with the same disorder can improve aspects of quality of life (QOL) in patients with a chronic neuromuscular conditions, according to a study published online June 18 Neurology.

Femke Marie Seesing, from Radboud University Medical Centre in the Netherlands, and colleagues randomized patients with a chronic neuromuscular disorder and their partners to either a SMA or an individual outpatient appointment. The 36-Item Short Form Health Survey was used to assess health-related QOL.

The researchers found that among the 272 patients and 149 partners included, health-related QOL showed greater improvement in patients who attended an SMA (P=0.05). There were small improvements in the control group for satisfaction with the appointment (P=0.01). During the SMAs, neurologists spent less time per patient (mean 16 vs. 25 minutes for individual appointments).

“Further research to optimize SMAs and to identify critical success factors seems warranted,” the authors write.

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