Second Opinion FAQ

Start Your Online Second Opinion Today

Why might I want a second opinion?

After receiving a new diagnosis, experiencing a change in your health condition, or getting a recommendation for care, a second opinion will help you to make a more informed decision about how to move forward with your care.

Should I get an online second opinion or visit ColumbiaDoctors for an in-person appointment?

Our Columbia clinicians are here for you. Whether you choose to come to us in-person or receive an online second opinion, you will have access to the specialists who are leaders in their fields.

If you do not live within convenient traveling distance of our offices or if you would like a remote consultation from the convenience of your home, an online second opinion allows you to access the medical expertise of Columbia University Irving Medical Center’s clinicians from wherever you are.

How does the online ColumbiaDoctors second opinion process work?

  • Step 1: After creating an account, create your case by clicking the green button on the patient dashboard or by calling our partner Included Health between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. EST at 1-800-391-6920. You will be asked to provide an email address, basic patient information, locations of existing medical records, local physician contact information, and the question(s) you have about your condition or the patient’s condition.
  • Step 2: Included Health collects all of your medical records and chooses the most appropriate physician from ColumbiaDoctors to review your case. Our care team does the legwork for you. All of your information is handled securely to protect your privacy.
  • Step 3: Your ColumbiaDoctors expert physician reviews your case and assembles your second opinion, addressing your specific questions.
  • Step 4: A member of the care team will call you to answer any questions you may have about your second opinion.

I'd like to get an online second opinion from a ColumbiaDoctors physician. How do I begin?

To start an online second opinion, you will need to create an account. Then, you will be lead through the process of obtaining a second opinion. You can also call us between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. EST at 1-800-391-6920

What is the affiliation between Included Health and ColumbiaDoctors?

Included Health helps ColumbiaDoctors deliver its second opinions. Before sending your information to the ColumbiaDoctors expert, the Included Health team will gather your medical records and history. A medical expert at Columbia will then review your records, and provide you with a written second opinion.

How much does a ColumbiaDoctors second opinion cost?

ColumbiaDoctors Second Opinion costs $800. This fee includes:

  • The cost of our care team collecting all of your medical records
  • A written second opinion from a ColumbiaDoctors medical expert

How do I pay for a ColumbiaDoctors second opinion?

Payment is due when you submit your ColumbiaDoctors second opinion request. We accept all major credit cards (MasterCard, Visa, American Express, and Discover).

Will my insurance cover the cost of a ColumbiaDoctors second opinion?

Most health plans do not cover online second opinions or consultations. You are responsible for the cost of your ColumbiaDoctors second opinion. We will not file a claim with your insurance carrier, nor can we provide a procedure (CPT) code for the ColumbiaDoctors second opinion service. The cost of a ColumbiaDoctors second opinion may be paid through your Flexible Spending Account or Health Savings Account.

How long does the ColumbiaDoctors second opinion process take?

We do our best to deliver your ColumbiaDoctors second opinion as quickly as possible. In order to provide you the highest quality service, our process is medically rigorous, personalized, and comprehensive. The timeline depends on how quickly we can collect your medical records from your medical providers. It can take between five and seven business days from the time our Columbia physicians receive your medical records to the time your second opinion is delivered to you.

Do I need to send in my medical records?

If all of your care has taken place within the United States, you only need to provide the names and locations of your physicians; our Included Health partner will collect your records. If you live in the United States and already have all of your medical records on hand, you can send them directly to Included Health.

Who chooses the physician who will provide my online second opinion?

After carefully reviewing your second opinion request and your medical records, Included Health will determine which ColumbiaDoctors specialist is most appropriate to review your online second opinion case. We will try to accommodate any requests for a specific physician, but we cannot guarantee that specialist will be assigned to your case.

I live outside of the United States. Can I use ColumbiaDoctors second opinion?

We do not currently offer ColumbiaDoctors second opinions to international patients. We encourage you, however, to contact Global Services for assistance, including help obtaining a second opinion.

Can I add more records, labs, or scans once a case is underway?

Your case cannot be reviewed by an expert until all required records are received.  Should additional records, labs, or imaging become available once your case is underway, we regret that we cannot add them to your case and the expert will not be able to review them. If new information does become available while your case is underway, you are welcome to open and pay for a new case. We will try to have the same expert review your second case, though that is not guaranteed.

How many questions can I ask the expert?

Patients may ask a maximum of five questions. This is to ensure that the expert has sufficient time to devote to each question. All questions must be finalized before we reach out to the expert to review your case, and additional questions cannot be added once your case is underway. Please note that you will not have direct phone contact with the expert, so it is important that you submit all of your questions at the start of your case.

What should I expect from my completed second opinion?

You will receive a notification when your second opinion has been completed and is ready for your review. The second opinion will be in written form. After you have reviewed the second opinion, a Included Health clinician will follow up with you by phone to address general medical questions about the information provided in the second opinion.

What if I have follow-up questions for the expert after I have reviewed my second opinion?

If you have a clarifying question about an expert’s response to one of the questions in your second opinion, the Included Health clinician will attempt to contact the expert to request additional clarification. Depending upon his or her availability, the expert may or may not be able to respond to follow-up questions, and 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 note that you may not introduce any new questions, only clarifying questions.

Need help with online second opinions?

Contact our partner Included Health between 9 am and 9 pm EST at 1-800-391-6920 for help navigating the online second opinion process.