There is now a greater emphasis on encouraging people to take more responsibility for their own health and wellbeing, with access to preventative care, screening, and monitoring health. As part of this drive, insurers are increasingly keen to offer access to a Second Medical Opinion – as a further way to give people more control of their health and the direction of treatment they choose, as such it has become a popular added-value service for both employees and direct consumers. .
Following the launch of RedArc Nurses’ Second Medical Opinion last year, the company is now sharing the most common conditions for which people seek a second opinion. According to data analysed over a 24-month period, the types of health conditions are many and varied but the most common are:
- Orthopaedic (31%)
- Mental Health (11%)
- Cancer (7%)
- Neurological (7%)
One in ten cases is for a second medical opinion for a child – with mental health being the most common health condition in under 18s.
Christine Husbands, managing director of RedArc Nurses said: ‘The most common types of request for a second opinion we see are similar to the most common reasons for claims on health and protection policies. People want to know what their options are in dealing with their condition and we’ve found that they don’t only appreciate the second opinion itself, they really value our nurse support before, during and after the diagnosis to help them make the decision that’s right for them and follow-up on all the recommendations.”
RedArc Nurses arranges a Second Medical Opinion (SMO) face-to-face with a specialist consultant in the UK. Some insurers include access to SMO alongside other medical support within an insurance product, or via employers within group schemes or membership packages. Similarly, some allow the service to be accessed on an ongoing basis and for others it is available at point of claim.
Benefits for individuals
Many people feel awkward about seeking a second opinion via the NHS and are also only too aware of the stresses that the NHS system is under, using an SMO, made available by an insurance scheme, and arranged by a specialist third party is much more accessible. It demonstrates a duty of care from the insurer and is fast becoming highly valued.
An SMO on its own can leave people feeling isolated and unsure about what to do with the results, so RedArc believes it’s crucial to offer support both pre- and post-consultation, to help the patient prepare for the appointment and deal with the outcome afterwards. Each person is allocated a dedicated personal nurse adviser who provides information, guidance and support by telephone before and after the second opinion. Commonly, patients then also require support in accessing services, or further tests either through the NHS or privately
Christine Husbands, managing director for RedArc says: “Insurers offering support for health and wellbeing doesn’t work if it’s just a tick-box exercise, there are continual developments made to offer a holistic approach to supporting wellbeing. It’s no longer just about arranging quick treatment and quick returns to work, it’s far more nuanced than that. Providing access to an SMO is a further way to support people taking control of their own health and wellbeing.
“When a person is in the process of being diagnosed, they often feel a range of emotions as well as having many questions. Being supported throughout the SMO is crucial to alleviate some of their concerns and discuss the appropriateness of possible alternative options.”
*Launched in January 2017 in partnership with Healix Health Services, RedArc Nurses has supported 166 individuals