Phone: 1-800-624-8832 | Email: | Help Center
Online Video Conference With Medical Doctor
Dec 08

Remote Second Opinions & Telehealth

When a patient receives a difficult diagnosis or is told they need a major procedure, it’s often in their best interest to seek a second opinion before proceeding. In the past, this could be inconvenient and take a good bit of time, but with today’s technology, patients are able to obtain a second opinion more conveniently and efficiently than ever before. Let’s talk more about the role telehealth can play for second opinions.

Why would a patient need a second opinion?

There are many reasons that a patient may need a second opinion, the first of which being to protect the patient from misdiagnosis. Unfortunately, the rates of misdiagnosis in the United States are higher than one might hope. According to a study in BMJ Quality & Safety, approximately 12 million adults are misdiagnosed in the United States each year, with half of those misdiagnoses carrying the potential to cause serious harm to the patient in question. Many patients, upwards of three quarters of patients according to some studies, end up with a change of diagnosis upon seeking a second opinion. Clearly, additional information is beneficial after a difficult diagnosis.

Another reason to seek a second opinion is if the diagnosis is not definitive. There are a lot of medical conditions that share symptoms with each other, and often determining exactly what a patient is dealing with can be a complicated process. For example, Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of Dementia can present very similarly in the early stages. Other conditions, like Multiple Sclerosis, Lyme disease, and Lupus are notoriously difficult to diagnose. In these cases, it’s a good idea to have more than one provider assess the patient in an effort to come to a consensus so the patient can feel confident moving forward with treatment.

Sometimes, there’s more than one possible way to treat a condition. This is another time when a second opinion can be useful. Cancer is one such condition where often there are multiple ways to approach treatment, and the options can be overwhelming. In this case, having information from more than one provider can be helpful for patients to feel like they’re getting a full picture from which to make decisions and can choose the option with which they’re most comfortable.

Finally, if a patient has a gut feeling that something isn’t right, they should seek a second opinion. Patients are not required to blindly follow doctor’r orders, and there are very few situations in which healthcare decisions must be made immediately. In situations where patients feel uncomfortable for absolutely any reason, they absolutely should seek a second opinion for their own peace of mind.

Why would a patient choose an online second opinion?

Seeking a second opinion can feel like just one more thing to do in the face of a difficult diagnosis. While important, it can be daunting to think of the time it might take. With online second opinions, there’s no need to physically go to an additional appointment, allowing for more options as far as when to complete this task. This makes the whole process much more convenient for the patient.

Additionally, when patients are seeking a second opinion, they want to hear from an expert in the situation they’re facing. By obtaining their second opinion online, patients can see the best specialists regardless of the location, allowing them access to top of the the line care even if it’s far away. This can provide a great deal of comfort to patients who are facing a difficult situation and give them greater confidence in the report they receive.

What should patients look for in a virtual consult?

While different organizations will have different policies for how they conduct their virtual second opinion services, ideally a virtual consult should be all-inclusive. Insurance coverage for second opinions varies by carrier and plan, so patients being able to pay a single flat fee for this service is important. This fee should include medical record collection, consultations, reinterpretation of any tests and images, and a written report of the case review for the patient’s records.

Patients should also be sure, when seeking a virtual second opinion, to look for an expert specific to their symptoms or condition. Since geography isn’t an issue with virtual consults, it’s ideal for patients to choose an organization or provider that specializes specifically in the diagnosis they’re facing. This is their opportunity to have their case looked at by the best of the best, so it’s important for them to understand they’re in highly capable hands.

What are the benefits of online second opinions?

The first benefit to an online second opinion is the convenience. By seeking a second opinion online, patients are able to save time, expense, and the hassle of traveling to obtain a quality second opinion.

Access to a skilled team is another benefit. Again, without geography being a concern, patients can access experts in their specific condition. This allows patients to rest assured they can trust the second opinion they receive.

Another benefit to online second opinions is a personalized approach. Patients are able to have a one-on-one video consultation and review of their medical history, as well as take the time to discuss their diagnosis and treatment options thoroughly, allowing them the opportunity to address their concerns and questions.

Finally, online second opinions offer more timely service than traditional second opinions. This is important because with complex or serious diagnoses, time is of the essence. Virtual second opinions can often be completed within two weeks, allowing patients to efficiently obtain the information they need to make educated care decisions and move on with their care.

When a patient is given a difficult diagnosis or a variety of treatment options and asked to make a decision, getting a second opinion is an important step in determining how to move forward. Thanks to today’s technological advancements, patients can have convenient access to experts, regardless of their geographical location, through virtual consults. These online second opinions can be a game changer in providing patients with the information and confidence they need to make the best care decisions for themselves. This is why MicroMD offers Medpod to our clients who may be interested in providing this important service through their own practice. Medpod allows your practice to connect with patients anytime, anywhere through our browser-based platform for easy, virtual visits. Featuring encrypted video, a configurable waiting room, and eligibility verification, Medpod has all you need to get started providing online care, including second opinions.

For more information or to get started, visit or call 1-800-624-8832.

About the author,
Savanna Adams

Savanna is the Marketing Communication Specialist at Henry Schein MicroMD. She schedules emails to clients, prospects, and VARs, manages social media accounts, performs research, writes blogs and eBooks, and much more while helping to support the simple yet powerful MicroMD solutions.

Looking for PM or EMR Software?

MicroMD PM and EMR/EHR  is flexible and can fit almost any specialty. Let us help you get back to the business of healing.

Request Demo

About The Author

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *