A patient sitting in Bidar (A small town in North Karnataka) has been suggested a Knee Replacement Surgery by his local doctor. He is unsure of the diagnosis plan and intends to consult a specialist doctor from a city (typical of patients from rural India).
He travels by train to Bangalore and consults a specialist who recommends physiotherapy/medicines for one year before a surgery. Another trip to Hyderabad lands him in a treatment plan which entails immediate surgery. He is now confused on what next!!! On top of it, he has spent a few days on his travel and close to INR 20000 (USD 350) for his two trips to get the two Opinions.
Is e-Second Opinion a viable option for him? Are we geared for this yet?
Would E-Second Opinion be a viable model for especially with the segment of patients who come from overseas to India or even for those in rural India, who don’t have access to expert opinions?
The typical challenges these patients face when coming to opting for an e-Second Opinion are:
- Lack of trust on the mediator (the website/application) to share sensitive medical records about self or the dependent.
- Concerns on the credentials of the doctor, who would provide the e-Second Opinion.
- The lack of facility to go digital to share medical records for the Second Opinion. Or in other words, no internet facility with a computer to upload and share relevant medical records. Even if given an opportunity with a computer, there could be enormous resistance to sit patiently and record all information.
- A preference for a face to face meet with the doctor and not go through a virtual world – computer/internet.
Though there are challenges, the benefits are huge:
- With the e-Second Opinion, he could have narrowed on a doctor and visited the doctor, which would mean, he goes with certain level of preparation on what is expected as a treatment plan, duration of treatment – all in advance. (thereby being able to make a more informed choice)
- From the above scenario, it is obvious that the patient could have saved a good chunk of his INR 20000 (USD 350) spend if he were having an option to consult a doctor online.
As part of e-Second Opinion initiatives, we at my-healthconnect, specialize in connecting patients with providers for a Second Opinion on their medical problem. Our initiatives have been helpful in connecting patients in rural India to specific doctors for an Opinion followed by a treatment too.