To ensure that patients all over the world have access to the expertise of BWHC physicians, the Brigham and Women’s Hospital website will soon feature a remote second-opinion consult service for patients near and far who would like the opinion of a BWHC expert on their diagnosis or treatment plan.
“This service is a virtual gateway to our specialists, so patients and their physicians can connect with us on troubling medical issues using the BWHC telehealth program,” said Mark A. Davis, MD, MS, executive director for Strategic Initiatives and Business Development. “We are continuing to quickly, but thoughtfully, grow our capacities to reach patients and providers throughout the U.S. and the world.”
Patients, their physicians or both may be uncertain about diagnosis and treatment options and whether travel to BWH is necessary or possible, said Davis. “Because many patients who seek a second opinion are located in other parts of the country or the world, this service is an efficient and cost-effective way for BWH to help in answering these critical questions.”
BWH has been part of a virtual second opinion website through Partners HealthCare for the last 18 years. Requests sent through the site are shared among the Partners hospitals, including BWH. BWH will continue to be part of the Partners website, but patients and providers will also be able to directly access the opinions of BWH experts through the BWH website.
So how does the virtual consult service work? According to Susan Lane, MSN, MBA, RN, senior director for Partners Connected Health Programs and Operations:
- A patient visits the website and fills out a form requesting a remote second opinion and includes his or her medical record.
- The patient may request a specific BWH physician, if they desire.
- Lane’s team at Partners Connected Health will relay the information to the BWHC physician, who then consults on the case.
- The patient’s treating physician receives the information from the BWH physician, and the patient is copied on the response with the second opinion.
Any BWH physician can be part of the virtual second-opinion program. There are no quotas, says Lane, so physicians are not required to accept a case if they cannot accommodate it when it comes in. If you are a physician interested in participating or learning more, please email firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com.