Selection of doctors based on a name of specialty, hospital, city or country is outdated, obsolete, and even dangerous. To solve any medical problem fast and efficiently, you need a world-class expert who perfectly matches your precisely defined medical situation. Location of expert does not matter anymore – medical tests are standardized and can be sent instantaneously around the world for review. This is how we select our experts:
For each client, we select a panel of experts from the entire global universe of academic physicians and surgeons.
We are not beholden to any clinic, university, city or country. Our approach differs from all other medical opinion providers – and it allows us to deliver the best results.
We do not have conflicts of interest that are inherent in the business models of many providers of second opinion services.
To select a panel of medical specialists to review and share opinion on your medical situation, we start with a detailed analysis of the data you transmit to us.
We then follow a structured process that incorporates:
- Medical literature review to explore the focus of clinical work and research accomplishments of all specialists who might review your case;
- Reputation of the clinical group where the specialist works, and his or her position within that clinical group;
- Recommendations from our extensive existing medical network on the reputation and expertise of the specialist;
- Feedback from each specialist after we initially share basic information about the situation we plan to seek his or her view on.
After receiving the report and recommendations from the experts, we typically engage in 2-3 rounds of discussion to clarify and detail the feedback we received. We then incorporate recommendations from our expert panel into our report to you.
Thus, you do not simply receive a “dry” 1 to 2 page letter from a specialist, as is typical for many second opinion services, but a detailed and comprehensive report that incorporates a lot of additional information and discusses nuances and context of your situation. This helps you to understand clearly and thoroughly the specialists’ views of your medical situation.
Most providers of second opinion services approach the selection of doctors in one of these three suboptimal ways:
These physicians might be well-qualified, but they might not necessarily be the most suitable choice for your specific situation.
Also, because the goal of any clinic or hospital is to generate as much business from patients as possible, second opinion services provided by hospitals serve as a “sales channel” – a marketing gateway to bring patients into that hospital or clinic.
This can create conflicts of interest
In addition, when you approach a specific hospital or a clinic for second opinion, you often do not have a choice of who will review your case. Typically, second opinion cases are being steered for review not necessarily to the most suitable or qualified specialist for your situation, but to those who agree to do consultations or need more patients for their practice.
Moreover, you usually receive just a 1 or 2 page “second opinion” letter from the physician who reviewed your case (and only then you learn who reviewed your case), with limited explanations or background information.
In contrast, our expert panel’s opinion forms only one part of the detailed second opinion report that you receive from us. Our report provides a lot of expertly curated background information and places experts’ recommendations into the context relevant to you.
We also outline any controversies and dissenting opinions, which we call “Minority report”, and point out any additional facts or concepts that are pertinent to your condition or the medical question you are exploring.
Such companies will direct you to that hospital or affiliated network of clinics without taking into consideration whether its staff physicians really are the most suitable specialists who fit best to solve your specific situation.
These companies most often receive a commission from the bill of each patient they send to their “client hospital” – thus generating a strong financial incentive for them to quote you the most extensive and expensive – treatment, whether it is clinically optimal for you or not.
Their primary goal is to send you to their “parent” hospital, whether or not the doctors working there are the best fit for the nuances of your medical condition, or whether they are indeed top experts in the method of treatment that your situation requires.
Higher bills for you mean higher commission fees for these “sales offices” that lure patients into their “parent” hospital or clinic.
Such treatments may or may not be the best option for a patient.
These companies work by having employers pay them a fixed fee calculated on a “per month per employee” basis. For this fee the employer offers its employees an opportunity to get a second opinion “free of charge”. The company promises your employer that it will save them money on health spending by providing second opinions that steer employees towards more conservative methods of treatment.
Again, any advice to an employee (you) to avoid more expensive or surgical treatment may or may not be the most suitable solution for a particular medical problem.
This is certainly a conflict of interest if a company provides a second opinion for employees but is paid on the basis of how much savings it generates for that employer’s health spending on employees. Don’t you agree?