ConsumerMedical partners with Cleveland Clinic to deliver second opinions remotely

por Lauren Dubinsky, Senior Reporter | January 08, 2016
Business Affairs Health IT Population Health Primary Care
Studies have shown that 30 percent of patients who sought second opinions for elective surgery — and 18 percent of those required to obtain a second opinion by their insurance provider — received contrary advice for recommended treatment, according to the Patient Advocate Foundation.

Obtaining a second opinion for confirming a diagnosis and setting the course for treatment is becoming more and more important. Because of that, a few of the top U.S. medical centers — including Johns Hopkins, Massachusetts General Hospital and Mount Sinai Health System — are offering remote second opinion services.

ConsumerMedical, a medical decision support company, has announced that it is now partnering with Cleveland Clinic to give its one million members access to the health system's MyConsult program for second opinion services.

"A second medical opinion is very beneficial in confirming a diagnosis where an individual has multiple treatment options," Sue Lewis, chief product strategy officer at ConsumerMedical, told HCB News. "It allows a patient to understand their diagnosis, first and foremost, and then confirm which treatment options might be best if multiple options are available, which typically there are."

The cost to receive an online second opinion through MyConsult is $565, but if a pathology review is needed then there will be an additional charge of $180. However, Lewis said it is increasingly something that a patient's employer will cover.

The physicians in the program review the patients' medical records and generate thorough reports, answer questions, advise on treatment options and recommend future care. The physicians routinely provide the second opinion consultations in between their other daily responsibilities at Cleveland Clinic, and sometimes consult with their more than 3,000 colleagues on a complex case.

The physicians are able to consult in over 1,200 diagnoses in specialties including cardiology, orthopedics, oncology, infertility, rheumatology, gastroenterology and bariatric surgery, urology and nephrology.

The program will be incorporated into ConsumerMedical's Guided Patient Support solution, which — in addition to a second opinion — provides patients with information, support and guidance that is needed to help them make better-informed decisions about their care.

A study conducted by PinnacleCare last year found that both physicians and consumers benefit when a patient gets a second opinion about treatment. The researchers investigated 1,000 cases from 2012 to 2014 and found that almost 77 percent of the cases in which the health care advisory company helped the patients get a second opinion led to changes in diagnosis and treatment.

“With all of the inherent complexities in the health care system, it’s imperative that people actively do everything they can to ensure they’re getting the very best care possible,” Dr. Miles Varn, chief medical officer of PinnacleCare, said in a statement. “Medicine is still an art subject to human error or interpretation. You owe it to yourself to see the physician with the expertise, skill and experience for your specific condition.”

ConsumerMedical's Lewis said that hospitals and physician practices can benefit from remote second opinion services, because it's a way for them to identify potential patients through a remote consult, who may end up visiting and seeking care with that hospital or specialist in the future.

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