TODAY   |  November 30, 2013

Are shared medical visits the future?

A clinic in Cleveland is providing routine patient check-ups for as many as 15 people with similar health issues -- all at once. NBC’s Dr. Nancy Snyderman reports.

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>>> shifting gears now to look at your health. when you go to the doctor, chances are it's the two of you in the examining room. maybe you have a family member or a nurse there at some point. what if was not just you, the pa patient, but a whole group of patients in there? dr. nancy snyderman explains, it could be the office visit of the future.

>> right now, you don't have anything to worry about.

>> reporter: flowers and even refreshments and this isn't clear a typical doctor's visit. it might be the model for the quality of health care . it's a shared medical appointment. for as many as 15 people with similar health issues all at once.

>> it's a bang for your buck . there is value. you have extra time , extra information, extra resources, extra understanding.

>> reporter: while a typical checkup lasts 15 to 30 minutes , a patient can have a shared medical appointment as long as two hours all for the same cost as a traditional visit. here is how it works. after a one-on-one physical exam with the doctor, everyone signs a privacy agreement.

>> over 55.

>> reporter: then the group meets to discuss test results.

>> we really need to work on getting that lower.

>> reporter: ask questions. and share idea about wellness and prevention and nutrition.

>> it's just peanuts and oil.

>> there's a lot of things that we share today with our health that are very good and that gives me a very good feeling of a healthy community.

>> you hear other people's comments and other people's questions and you might even learn something you might not even thought of asking.

>> reporter: the shared appointments program here is catching across the country as hospital struggle with limited resources. with the growing aging population and the expected surge in new patients insured under the affordable care act some think we knee more doctors. by the year of 2020 it's estimated the u.s. will face a shortage of more than 91,000 physicians.

>> a very low hdl.

>> reporter: on this day, one doctor saw double the number she usually can. giving patients who started the day as strangers, to work toward the common goal of better health. for "today," dr. nancy snyderman , nbc news, new york.