Most of the attention that telehealth has garnered over the past year has focused on using remote technology for synchronous virtual patient visits. During portions of 2020, these visits represented as much as 70% of all patient encounters.
Suppose that a patient is seeking a second opinion from a specialist in Texas for their recent cancer diagnosis. The patient resides on the East Coast of the United States and is unable or uncomfortable traveling. To properly confirm and address the diagnosis, the physician in Texas needs to see the patient's full medical history, including pathology. Unfortunately, sending the pathology report through the mail is costly and wastes valuable time, and also runs the risk of getting lost or damaged in transit. Not to mention, digital pathology slides are so large they will not fit on a DVD for sending.
When you're confronted with a complex or critical health care diagnosis, you may be scared or confused by the prognosis or treatment recommended. This is often the time patients seek another opinion. Generations ago, patients relied on their personal physicians to make all their health care related decisions. But no single physician is infallible, and most decisions are better when scrutinized by another informed source.
As a patient, when and how do you go about getting a second opinion?
Patient Record Disconnect
The last thing a patient needs when they are sick, is to have to scurry around and collect their medical records from the various providers who generated the patient’s medical records. Often these records can help to understand a disease progression that is critical for the patient’s treatment plan. But patient records often reside at various providers who store these in proprietary, incompatible and disconnected silos, often requiring the patient show up in person to receive a CD or printed paper copy. Without these records in hand, a patient’s diagnosis can be incorrect or incomplete. Expensive and sometimes uncomfortable tests may have to be performed again.
An important question when exploring the benefits of remote second opinions, other than your patients’ demand, is the potential for increasing your revenue. You need to be sure it’s worth your investment before committing, and we get that. In this post we will walk you through the costs associated with offering remote second opinions and the potential revenue to help you decide whether it is an investment that you want to make.