Our online second opinion program offers you and your family access to leading specialists at UCSF Benioff Children's Hospitals, no matter where you live. If you are facing a complex medical issue or difficult treatment decision, having a second opinion from a world-class academic medical center can provide valuable guidance and peace of mind.
How it works
UCSF has partnered with Included Health to provide this service. Included Health takes care of gathering the patient's relevant medical records and coordinates the entire process. The service is simple, convenient and completely confidential. Since everything is done remotely, patients don't need to travel to the Bay Area.
The second opinion service can be very helpful if:
- You want a second opinion on a diagnosis
- You want a second opinion on treatment recommendations
Frequently asked questions
- How does it work?
Get an online second opinion for your child in four steps:
- Create an account for your child, then open the case by clicking the green button on the patient dashboard. If you need help, please call Included Health, our second opinion partner, at (800) 941-1383 (domestic) or (775) 440-2557 (international). Help is available 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Pacific Time, Monday through Friday.
- You will be prompted to provide an email address, basic patient information, locations of your child’s medical records and any specific questions you have about your child’s condition.
- Included Health collects all your child’s medical records and chooses the most appropriate UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospitals doctor to review the case. Everything is handled securely to protect your family’s privacy.
- The UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospitals doctor reviews your child’s diagnosis and treatment plan. This doctor will provide clear medical guidance in the form of a written second opinion, addressing the specific questions you submitted.
Each case is assigned a personal care coordinator and staff doctor from Included Health. They will be your points of contact and will assist you throughout the process – handling logistics, collecting records, answering questions and ensuring your needs are met.
- How long does it take?
We do our best to deliver written second opinions as quickly as possible. The time frame depends on how quickly Included Health is able to obtain all medical records relevant to your child’s case. After these are collected, most people receive the written second opinion within five to seven business days, depending on the complexity of the case and availability of the specialist best suited to review it.
The Included Health personal care coordinator for your child’s case will keep you updated on the status of your request. You can also log in to your secure account at any time to track its progress.
- How much does it cost?
An online second opinion from UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospitals costs $700. The following services are included:
- Access to a personal care coordinator and staff doctor from Included Health
- Collection, digitization and submission of your child’s medical records by Included Health
- Medical review by a UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospitals specialist
- A written opinion from this expert
- Follow-up to address questions and referral needs related to the second opinion
In rare cases, the doctor reviewing a case suggests another review of imaging tests or pathology reports (such as biopsy results). If this occurs, the personal care coordinator will contact you regarding the additional fees for these services.
- Will my child’s insurance help pay for it?
Currently, most health plans don’t cover online second opinions or consultations, so you are responsible for the cost. Payment is due when your second opinion request is submitted.
We accept all major credit cards (Mastercard, Visa, American Express and Discover). You may also use your health savings account (HSA) or flexible spending account (FSA) to pay. UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospitals will not file a claim with your insurance carrier, nor can we provide a procedure (CPT) code for the online second opinion service.
- What if my child's medical records are in another language?
Medical records must be submitted in English. Please arrange for records to be translated by a qualified medical translator before submitting them for review. You may use any qualified service of your choice, or contact Lan Do & Associates for assistance.
- What should I do once I have the second opinion?
The UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospitals specialist may agree with the original diagnosis and treatment plan, offering you peace of mind that you’re making the right decisions regarding your child’s care. It is also possible that the UCSF specialist will agree with the diagnosis but will offer different or additional treatment recommendations. Or the specialist may have a different diagnosis entirely and will recommend a different course of treatment.
Whatever the outcome, once you receive the report, you should schedule time with your child’s primary health care provider to review the recommendations and work together to design the best treatment approach.
If you decide to come to UCSF for treatment, your child will likely see the same doctor who provided the online second opinion. Nevertheless, you should call the clinic to confirm that this doctor is still the appropriate specialist for your child’s case and is available to meet with you.
- Can I add more records, lab reports or images once the review of my child’s case is underway?
The case cannot be reviewed by an expert until we have received all the necessary records. Regrettably, after the review process has begun, we cannot add more records or test results to a case, so the expert will not be able to review them. If new information does become available while your child’s case is underway, you are welcome to open and pay for a new case, and we can request the same expert who reviewed the first case. Please be aware that we can’t guarantee the same expert will be available.
- Who chooses the doctor providing the second opinion for my child?
After carefully reviewing your second opinion request and your child’s medical records, our experienced team will determine which UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospitals specialist is most appropriate. However, you may request a particular doctor, and Included Health as well as UCSF will try to accommodate your wishes, though we can’t guarantee that specialist will be assigned to your child’s case.
- How many questions may I ask the expert?
You may ask a maximum of five questions. This ensures the expert has sufficient time to devote to each question. All questions must be finalized before we reach out to the expert to review the case, and additional questions can’t be added once a case is underway. Please note that there is no direct phone conversation with the expert, so it’s important that you submit all of your questions at the start.
- What should I expect to receive once my child’s second opinion is complete?
You’ll be notified when the completed second opinion is ready for your review. It will be in written form. After you have reviewed the second opinion, an Included Health clinician will follow up with you by phone to address general medical questions about the information provided in the second opinion.
- May I ask the expert follow-up questions after I’ve reviewed the second opinion?
If you desire clarification of the response to one of your submitted questions, and the Included Health doctor is unable to provide it, the Included Health doctor will try to contact the expert. Whether our experts can respond to follow-up questions depends on their availability; responses to follow-up questions are not guaranteed.
Follow-up questions must be posed to the expert within five business days of when the completed second opinion was made available to you, and you may ask a maximum of three clarifying questions. Please understand that you may not introduce new questions; they should be questions seeking clarity on what you’ve read. Included Health can help you arrange a visit with the expert, if needed.
Note: Do NOT use this service for medical emergencies or if you need immediate treatment guidance. If this is a medical emergency, please call your local emergency service number (911 in the U.S.) or go to the nearest emergency room.
Saving future lives