A receptionist beckons out to a dozen patients in the waiting room: "The doctor will see you ALL next," followed by a clearing house of patients. Welcome to a shared medical appointment.

According to TIME and the American Academy of Family Physicians, the amount of family physicians that practice in group structures has doubled since 2005. Still not impressed? Chew on this: 85 percent of patients that try a shared medical appointment don't return to single ones.

First things first, examinations are done in private. No one should be asking you to sit in a paper gown (hello, awkward) for hours as you all discuss your common condition.

Shared medical appointments (SMA's) may not be for everyone, but they are an innovative way to gather patients with similar health issues. Not just for healthy pregnant moms, success has also been seen with chronic conditions such as diabetes.

In fact, these appointments are growing in popularity due to patient satisfaction. Benefits include: a lengthier time with the physician, shared learning and emotional support — all of which are integral to a healthy life with diabetes.

Conceivably, this style of scheduling would allow you to spend more time with your doctor at a single appointment than you would otherwise tally in an entire year of appointments. Some group visits may last as long as two hours, which is an impressive time slot, and might include dietitians or diabetes educators.

Is this something your doctor practices? If so, it might be worth checking out.