USA Today reports that online second-opinion services offer patients consultations from specialists based on the medical records that they fax, mail or send via the Internet.
The average cost, payable upfront via credit card, is $500 to $1,500, depending on the number of radiology or pathology interpretations required. Patients then receive online access to a second opinion in about two weeks.
The three main leaders in remote second-opinion services — the Cleveland Clinic, Johns Hopkins Medicine and POSC — each say they are serving about 1,000 patients a year.
Not all remote second-opinion services will be the same.
There will differences in how your records are handled and who participates in the consultation process.
And, some services use a case manager who may or may not have a medical degree.
In addition, not all remote second-opinion services require that a your personal physician participate. The Cleveland Clinic, for example, delivers consultations directly to a patient, other systems share them with the physician first and then with the patient.
Also, at the present time, most insurance companies do not cover remote second opinions.
But, remote second-opinion services are evolving and improving with advanced technology – and, I predict that the convenience of e-health technologies will continue to grow and become more popular.
Nothing can replace the face-to-face visit with your personal family physician – but, for many patients these types of services will be a valuable addition as more and more people become their own healthcare quarterbacks.
If you want to learn more about becoming your own healthcare quarterback, order a copy of my book God’s Design for the Highly Healthy Person.