The Value of Getting a Second Opinion

by | Dec 13, 2017 | Benefits

Many patients consider getting a second opinion from another doctor a little taboo. They feel that they are breaking some sort of social norm by asking another doctor for their opinion. They put so much trust into a single doctor and don’t want to damage that relationship by challenging their conclusions. The funny thing is that second opinions within the medical community are extremely common and are considered an accepted practice. Second opinions bring peace of mind and encourage patient engagement.

One of the recent trends in the employee benefits space is adding a second opinion service as a piece of the benefits package. These services not only give employees peace of mind but are a smart business decision. We’ve seen reductions of unnecessary procedures by up to 40% with some clients and a decrease in medical complications. These services are both beneficial for the employee in receiving better care while reducing costs for employers. Integration within the HealthJoy ecosystem is simple with no special requirements by a broker or company. Our in-house concierge staff is well versed with the most common programs available.

Reasons to get a second opinion for employees

There are a lot of perfectly legitimate reasons to get a second opinion. A medical diagnosis can be overwhelming and lead to sleepless nights. Getting a second opinion can help alleviate some of that uncertainty and make people feel more confident in their healthcare decisions.

  • They want to confirm a diagnosis
  • They want to talk to doctors who have access to new treatment options, including clinical trials.
  • They want a different view about how to best manage a disease.
  • A spouse or family member wants to get a second opinion

How getting a second opinion works

Most second opinion services have a pool of high-quality physicians that provide their opinions on most diagnosis and treatment plan. No travel is required by the employee and it can be done by reviewing previously performed tests and labs. In some rare cases, the physician will request additional tests to improve the diagnosis. The complete process is usually handled within a few days. In the majority of the cases, these second opinions will improve the treatment process and reduce expenses by over $5,000 on average.

Improving adherence with incentives

The savings potential for second opinion services for an employer is easy to understand from a business perspective but when it comes to employees, sometimes they need extra incentive to change behavior and use a second opinion service. One of the strategies we’ve seen work effectively is adding incentives to increase adherence. The best approach is to use HSA funding for adherence to recommendations. Even small incentives can lead to a huge change of behavior.

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