A recent article on MSNBC discusses a new way some doctors are interacting with patients who have been diagnosed with chronic diseases such as Parkinson's and diabetes. Instead of a regular 15-minute visit one-on-one with the patient, the doctor meets with patients as a group for sessions that may last for 90+ minutes.
As an example of how this technique works, doctors who hold group sessions for those afflicted with Parkinson's believe that they learn more about their patients as they can see how they interact with other group members - giving the doctor more information about the patient than what would have been received during a one-on-one interaction. In diabetic patient groups, patients share their own experiences with the disease while learning how to properly manage it. When one patient in a particular group warned others to make sure they follow their regimen as she had ignored hers and lost most of her toes, her doctor said that what that patient said had a much stronger impact on the group than what he could have said all day.