In the ever-complex landscape of healthcare, seeking a second opinion for medical diagnoses and treatments is not just a prudent step—it’s a potentially cost-saving one. One such program, facilitated by Eastman in collaboration with The Clinic by Cleveland Clinic, is setting the gold standard in employee healthcare benefits. The program offers virtual second-opinion consultations and has been instrumental in reducing healthcare costs for employers by a staggering $36,000 per employee, according to The Clinic’s data.
The Sharon Nolen Story: A Second Opinion Makes a World of Difference
Sharon Nolen’s tale provides a glimpse into the program’s immense benefits. After a nasty fall and an inconclusive diagnosis, Nolen was caught in the backlog of an overtaxed healthcare system. That’s when she learned about the virtual second-opinion consultations offered through her employer, Eastman. This program allowed her to connect with a specialist in just two weeks—after having spent months waiting for the same opportunity through conventional channels.
Access to Specialists, Regardless of Geographical Boundaries
With The Clinic by Cleveland Clinic’s platform, employees have access to over 3,500 specialists for a second-opinion diagnosis. The virtual nature of the program eliminates the need for travel or in-person visits, providing patients greater accessibility irrespective of their location or income level. This not only expedites the diagnosis but also helps employees make informed decisions about their health, thus avoiding potentially costly and unnecessary procedures.
Change in Diagnosis: A Common Outcome
Over 70% of patients who consult physicians through The Clinic end up with either a diagnosis change or a suggested alteration to their treatment plan. Such shifts have a domino effect—improving patient outcomes, expediting return to work, and lowering absenteeism. These changes also lead to a considerable reduction in healthcare costs for employers.
A Win-Win for Employees and Employers Alike
Frank McGillin, CEO of The Clinic by Cleveland Clinic, highlighted the significance of the program, stating, “It sends the message that your employer is looking out for your best interest.” The program doesn’t just offer a cost-saving benefit to employers; it also opens the doors for less invasive and more effective treatments for employees. In turn, this contributes to a faster recovery period for the patient.
The Ripple Effect: Improved Quality of Life
Nolen’s life took a turn for the better after her second-opinion consultation. She returned to her full-time job and normal activities within four and a half months of her fall. Nolen is now an advocate for the second-opinion program and frequently discusses its benefits with coworkers and friends. Her story underlines the value of the program in enhancing an employee’s quality of life and ensuring quicker, more confident paths to recovery.
Navigating the healthcare labyrinth can be challenging. Programs like the one offered by Eastman and The Clinic by Cleveland Clinic are closing the gap between the intricacies of medical care and patient understanding, offering a much-needed lifeline in today’s complex healthcare environment. For employers, the reduction in healthcare costs is a welcome byproduct of a system that puts the employee’s well-being front and center.
If you enjoyed this article, consider sharing it with your network and discussing this essential employee benefit with your HR department. And remember, in healthcare, a second opinion can sometimes be priceless.