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Online Second Opinion

Online Second Opinions

When your child receives a complex diagnosis and you are facing treatment decisions, the journey ahead can seem overwhelming. Cincinnati Children’s understands and wants to help. An online second opinion from one of our nationally renowned specialists can help you make informed, confident decisions about your child’s care. And it’s all available from the convenience of home.

The online second opinion may provide new insights about your child’s diagnosis or suggest new treatment options. Or, our recommendations may be the same as your local care team’s, which can provide peace of mind as you move forward.

We offer online second opinions for patients and families inside the United States who live beyond the Greater Cincinnati area (southeast Ohio, southwest Indiana and northern Kentucky). The process is easy and convenient, and a case manager will guide you every step of the way.

Expert Medical Help When It Matters Most

Second opinions are common in healthcare, especially for complex or rare conditions. Medical providers understand this and typically welcome opinions from other experts. That’s why we share your online second opinion report with your local physician. Our specialists want the best for you and your child, and we know your local care team does, too. 

A second opinion may be helpful when: 

  • You or your child has received an unclear diagnosis.
  • You or your child have questions or concerns about a diagnosis.
  • There’s been a change in diagnosis or the treatment your local care team is recommending.
  • You or your child is not improving with the current care plan.
  • You have questions or concerns about a treatment recommendation.

Online second opinions and telehealth video visits are not the same. A telehealth appointment is like any other in-person visit, just over a secure video call. Online second opinions don’t need to include a video or phone call because our physician reviews your existing medical records and focuses on the questions you already gave us. Then, you receive a written report detailing our physician’s opinion about that medical condition, diagnosis or treatment plan.

The Online Second Opinion Program is for requests that are not urgent. If you need help with an urgent or life-threatening situation, please call 911 or seek local medical care.

The service can only be requested by someone able to provide legal consent for the child such as an adoptive or natural parent, a personal representative, a person who is in loco parentis, or a person who has been appointed by a court or recognized by a court for children under 18 or those over 18 who do not have legal authority to consent on their own behalf.

How the Online Second Opinion Process Works

Our online second opinion process is simple and straightforward. Everything takes place online in our convenient Patient and Family Portal. You will use the portal to communicate with a case manager, upload medical records and view your report. A case manager will provide support and guidance from start to finish. The Online Second Opinion Program doesn’t include a video visit.

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Step 1. Create an Account in Our Patient and Family Portal

Our secure Patient and Family Portal is the “hub” for your Online Second Opinion. After you create an account, you’ll be asked to provide initial information, including:

  • The patient’s name, date of birth and address 
  • The patient’s current diagnosis and a brief medical history 
  • The reason for your second opinion request and your questions for the experts
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Step 2. Provide Us with Access to Medical Records

Before providing the second opinion, the specialist needs to review medical records, imaging studies and lab tests. Your case manager will gather these materials from your local care team. Or you can upload them to the portal yourself. Collecting medical records can take several days or longer in some cases.  Your case manager can provide updates on your case status.

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Step 3. Pay for the Online Second Opinion Service

Online second opinions cost $850. The cost may be higher if our team needs to involve a radiologist or pathologist in the second opinion process. Your case manager will discuss this with you before any additional specialists are involved. 

Online second opinions are typically not covered by insurance. However, you may be able to pay for an online second opinion with your Health Savings Account (HSA) or Flexible Spending Account (FSA). We accept payment via credit cards. You’ll receive a receipt, which you can submit to your HSA or to your insurance provider for possible reimbursement. Cincinnati Children’s won’t bill your insurance company directly.

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Step 4. Your Request Will Be Assigned to a Cincinnati Children’s Specialist 

Once we receive the medical records and payment, you’ll be matched with the specialist who is best suited to provide the second opinion. This specialist may request additional information or medical records. The specialist may request additional input from other experts at Cincinnati Children’s. This review typically takes five to seven business days once all information has been received.

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Step 5. The Online Second Opinion Report Will Appear in the Portal

The specialist will complete your second opinion report within five to seven business days of receiving all medical records. Your case manager will notify you and your local treating physician when the report is available in the Patient and Family Portal. 

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Step 6. You Can Ask Clarifying Questions

We want to make sure you have time to review the second opinion report and think about follow-up questions related to your report. You’ll have 10 business days to submit additional questions. Our team is happy to answer questions that relate to your original request and the information in the report. If your questions go beyond that, the case manager will discuss options with you, such as scheduling an in-person visit.

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Step 7. You Can Decide What to Do Next

After receiving the second opinion report, some families decide to transfer care to Cincinnati Children’s. This may be the case if Cincinnati Children’s offers treatment options that aren’t available near where you live, for example. 

Please let your case manager know if you would like to transfer your care or your child’s care to Cincinnati Children’s. Our team will work with you to make the necessary arrangements.