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Five ways you and your employees can benefit from an expert medical opinion

By Donovan Campbell, EVP, Accolade Care Solutions  | December 16, 2022 | 6 min read

Do you and your employees have questions about new diagnoses, upcoming surgeries, or prescribed medications? Approximately 12 million U.S. adults receive diagnostic errors every year. These errors could be potentially harmful — or even life threatening. If you or one of your employees are facing an upcoming high impact medical decision, are struggling to get a diagnosis that explains the symptoms you’re experiencing or have questions about the treatment journey you’re currently on, it’s crucial to get an expert medical opinion. 

Expert medical opinions are a vital tool in the overall healthcare journey and can help your employees understand all their treatment options and the risks and benefits associated therewith. It also provides peace of mind for everyone involved.

But how do you ensure that if you provide an expert medical opinion solution as a benefit, your employees will be able to make the best use of that service? Let’s look at five ways you and your employees can maximize an expert medical opinion consultation to get the most out of virtual expert doctor opinion visits. 

1. Reduce your healthcare costs with virtual expert medical opinions 

The rising cost of goods in the U.S., including gas, groceries and homes, is a burden we all face. Doctor visits are no exception and another barrier to healthcare. 6.3% of Americans failed to obtain needed medical care[3] due to costs. 

Employees can avoid unnecessary surgeries and appointments, expensive treatments or misdiagnoses by utilizing an expert medical opinion consultation. This can all lead to lower costs for both your company and employees.  

2. Improve health outcomes with a virtual expert medical opinion 

Whatever your employee’s diagnosis may be — from heart disease to cancer and beyond — you want to make sure they receive high quality, personalized care while minimizing the risk of medical errors. Unfortunately, an estimated 12 million Americans are misdiagnosed[4] annually, increasing the chances of causing potential harm to people. This comes with substantial costs to both the employees themselves and your bottom line. 

It is possible to get a expert medical opinion from a top specialist who can provide information and peace of mind while also reducing the chance of harm. Organizations like Accolade employ records teams who use a proprietary method of matching elite specialists from top U.S. institutions with your people within days. Your employees can receive advice through a video consultation on treatment options and courses of action to take, equipping and empowering them to make the best decisions for their health. 

3. Increase employee engagement with a virtual expert opinion doctor visit 

A virtual-first approach improves the quality of care, member experience and increased engagement. It provides your employees with deep access to medical experts — which can help them feel more informed and empowered to make important medical decisions.  

Engaged employees are more likely to be proactive about their health and take steps to improve their overall health and well-being. This can not only help them achieve the best care, but it can also help them be healthier in the future with a lower risk of chronic conditions like diabetes which can be costly for both the employee and your company.  

4. Remove transportation barriers with a virtual expert medical opinion 

Your employees should consider seeking an expert medical opinion if they are unclear about a diagnosis, deciding between multiple treatment options or if a doctor is recommending surgery or other high-risk treatment. However, it isn’t always easy getting to specialists. And the added challenge of traveling to see a specialist can constitute a barrier for many employees — especially when the need is unforeseen.

In-person doctor visits have made receiving care inequitable, depending on someone’s personal situation. It might surprise you to learn that 3.6 million Americans do not receive medical care[2] due to a lack of transportation. Virtual expert medical opinions remove that barrier by bringing care to your people wherever they may be. They also allow medical specialists to schedule appointments with the employee’s schedule in mind, so there is no need to travel or take time off work. 

It also provides employees with access to an elite tier of specialists. There are parts of the country where the most advanced specialists work in high concentrations — like Philadelphia or New York City, to name a few. Many people in other parts of the country must settle for the experience of the providers near them which is some parts of the country may be none. A virtual expert medical opinion visit increases access to more experienced practitioners. 

5. Provide better access to timely medical expertise with a virtual expert medical opinion 

When there is a serious health diagnosis made, like cancer, time is of the essence to receive an expert opinion and start treatment. It can take around three weeks to get an in-person office appointment made with a specialist, in many cases. Larger organizations, like the Cleveland Clinic[5], can provide virtual visits in an average of two weeks. However, it’s possible to have a virtual expert medical opinion in a matter of days — not weeks – with Accolade Expert MD.  

Quality care that helps your people and saves your organization money 

An expert opinion can change everything. Did you know that 80% of people in the U.S. lack adequate access to healthcare[6]? Offering virtual expert medical opinions can be a life saver.

Published research on Accolade’s personalization model has shown that we incorporate 93% of barriers to care into our care plans. By proactively addressing these and other barriers to care, we improve health outcomes for members. At the same time, our customers see significant cost trend reductions. 

You can help your employees avoid the costs and risks of unnecessary surgeries and procedures by supporting them to make informed decisions built on evidenced-based care. Accolade Expert MD has more than 900 leading specialists who help members understand their treatment options and gain access to the right care through video or phone call visits — wherever they live.

Within three to five days, we schedule appointments, gather information and send medical history records to the specialists before the conversation begins. Then, once the virtual expert medical opinion visit has started, your employees can take as long as they need to get all their questions answered. Afterward, individuals will receive a written summary to help them remember what they talked about and share with their local provider. 

Getting high-quality, personalized care for the people who make your organization run is convenient for them and it can save your organization money. An independent 2020 study found that companies in their first year with Accolade saw claims costs drop from $590 per employee per year above market control to $432 below market control. By having your employees use their expert medical opinion services, your people feel confident with their diagnosis and treatment plan — and your business will save money simultaneously. Let us show you how Accolade can lower your cost per member each year by contacting us today. 

[1] https://www.grandviewresearch.com/industry-analysis/us-house-call-market

[2] https://www.aha.org/ahahret-guides/2017-11-15-social-determinants-health-series-transportation-and-role-hospitals  [3] https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/access-to-health-care.htm

[4] https://mymedicalscore.com/medical-error-statistics/ 

[5] https://my.clevelandclinic.org/online-services/virtual-expert-opinions

[6] https://www.goodrx.com/healthcare-access/research/healthcare-deserts-80-percent-of-country-lacks-adequate-healthcare-access

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