It can pay dividends for patients to get a second opinion. One in five patients learns they had been misdiagnosed after getting another take on their medical condition by a new doctor, says research from the Mayo Clinic.
But because of time, money and hassles from healthcare insurers over what—and what not—might be covered, and other issues, less than one quarter of all patients—20%—ever bother to get a second opinion, says ShareCare.com.
It’s also tricky to help patients find out more about what the true medical issue might be, a situation Stanford Medicine is looking to rectify in part through digital healthcare.
Stanford Medicine, which operates Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford Health Care and Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford, is rolling out a web service that for a fee of $700 will enable patients to get a second opinion. The web service aims to take more of the guess work out of getting a second opinion by collecting all of the patient’s electronic medical records from multiple healthcare provider groups and giving the Stanford physician rendering the second opinion more comprehensive information to make a better diagnosis.
The second opinion program was launched by Stanford Health Care and Stanford Children’s Health in November and is available for a limited number of specialties and conditions, including otolaryngology (ear, nose and throat), orthopedics and epilepsy. For parents of pediatric patients who are being considered for neurosurgery, heart transplantation, heart failure treatments or cardiothoracic surgery, a medical record review service also provides evaluation of eligibility for surgery.
To get access to the digital second opinion service, patients and patents of young patients under 17 create an online account. A Stanford specialist then collects all available electronic medical records, researches the patient’s health history and sends a written second opinion to the patient and his or her doctor, usually within two weeks.
Stanford Medicine is working on the second opinion program with Grand Rounds Inc., a San Francisco area digital healthcare company that connects patients with local and remote specialty care. Stanford Medicine has yet to say how many patients thus far have signed up for the service or if it expects to expand the program.
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