Increasing the availability of medical second opinions

Access to medical specialists and subspecialists is sometimes difficult for Arizona patients to obtain. A world connected by the internet, however, has resulted in the expansion of virtual medical services. With telemedicine, patients can have conversations with remote physicians, and virtual second opinion services can review medical scans and test results and prepare reports about their conclusions. These systems have the ability to provide patients with medical evaluations by people at prestigious medical institutions.

Employers and insurance companies have been receptive to these virtual services because they have the potential to improve medical outcomes by reducing misdiagnoses. Patients have expanded opportunities to consult specialists instead of relying solely on the opinion of local physicians who might have limited time to spend on their patients.

Insurers also expect to control costs by reducing errors made in outpatient settings. According to a report published in BMJ Quality & Safety, diagnostic errors happen to about 12 million outpatients every year. These mistakes rack up costs by sending people for unnecessary treatments or delaying the proper care needed to prevent a decline in health.

A person who received substandard medical care might experience financial and physical damages. Medical bills wasted on inappropriate services, lost pay and a worsened medical condition could provide sufficient cause for a person to file a medical malpractice lawsuit. An attorney representing a patient in this type of a civil action will have to be able to demonstrate by a preponderance of the evidence that the health care practitioner failed to exhibit the requisite standard of care.