Cedars-Sinai is one of a growing number of prestigious health systems that are expanding access to consulting specialist.
Telehealth has already made remarkable strides in several areas, including primary care, radiology, dermatology, ophthalmology, and mental health.
The prestigious Los Angeles-based health system is now offering HIPAA-compliant, virtual second opinions in 21 states, including Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Minnesota, Montana, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, South Carolina, Utah, Vermont, Virginia and Washington.
"When you need specialized care for the most complex conditions, expertise matters," says Joanna Chikwe, MD, professor and chair of the Department of Cardiac Surgery at Cedars-Sinai. "So does convenience and speed. One of the special things about Virtual Second Opinion is that the physician can give each participant completely individualized and tailored treatment options."
The program is designed for patients looking to confirm a diagnosis or get more details about their condition, available treatment options, and finding a care regimen that best suits their needs. Cedars-Sinai says the virtual consultations are particularly valuable for patients living in remote areas who are unable to travel for an in-person consultation.
So far, Cedars-Sinai offers virtual second opinions on cardiac surgery, cardiology, spine surgery, and women's health, including coronary artery disease, aortic aneurysms and dissections, arrhythmias and valve dysfunction, disc disease, tumors and radiculopathies, endometriosis, abnormal bleeding, and ovarian tumors and cysts. Expansions into additional specialties are planned in the months ahead.
Patients ages 18 and older can request a virtual second opinion at a cost of $590 for Californians and $790 for out-of-state residents, owing to additional processing costs.
A nurse coordinator is assigned to the patient within 24 hours to help gather relevant health data and other relevant records, and a second opinion is offered within six days of receiving patients' documents.
Cedars-Sinai says most commercial health plans won't pay for the virtual second opinion, but patients with a health savings or flex spending account can tap it to cover the cost. The flat fee includes care coordination, medical record collection and a second opinion report prepared by a physician specialist. Patients can also schedule a virtual 30-minute educational session with specialists to review the report and answer questions.
Matthew Siedhoff, MD, vice chair of Gynecology at Cedars-Sinai, says the virtual second opinion can address underdiagnosed gynecologic conditions that "can cause women to suffer needless pain and frustration."
"A virtual second opinion can make such a difference,” Siedhoff says. "When patients come to us for an online visit, the imaging, lab tests, physical exam and other in-person tasks have already been done and can give us a good basis for evaluating the patient and recommending next steps."
“One of the special things about Virtual Second Opinion is that the physician can give each participant completely individualized and tailored treatment options.”
Prof. Joanna Chikwe, MD, chair, Department of Cardiac Surgery at Cedars-Sinai.
John Commins is a content specialist and online news editor for HealthLeaders, a Simplify Compliance brand.
Cedars-Sinai offers virtual second opinions on cardiac surgery, cardiology, spine surgery, and women's health, with more services in the offing.
Patients ages 18 and older can request a virtual second opinion at a cost of $590 for Californians and $790 for out-of-state residents.
Most commercial health plans won't pay for the virtual second opinion, but patients can use health savings or flex spending accounts.