Virtual second opinions appeal to 89% of respondents for critical medical decisions, while 38% wary of AI tools to diagnose

Updated on February 21, 2024

New survey reveals consumer demand for virtual, concierge healthcare options and employer benefits, with findings suggesting travel and cost as frequent barriers to specialty care

A new survey, commissioned by The Clinic by Cleveland Clinic and conducted by Acumen Marketing Research, has uncovered new insights into patient attitudes about and barriers to accessing second opinions and concierge-style healthcare. The survey found that while 71% of respondents who have experienced a serious health condition have considered obtaining a second opinion, only half have done so. Among those who never received a second opinion, perceived cost, unfamiliarity with the specialist, lack of specialists in their area, and lack of time were cited among perceived disadvantages.

Lack of awareness of more cost-effective and convenient options likewise may cause patients to settle for less-than-ideal care experiences. For instance, when introduced to the option of a virtual second opinion (VSO) from Cleveland Clinic, 89% of respondents noted they would be very or somewhat interested in obtaining one if faced with an important medical decision.

  • 52% of respondents noted that the elimination of travel time and expenses was a key driver of their interest in a virtual second opinion, which can significantly alleviate cost concerns.
  • 56% of respondents noted that a key driver of considering a second opinion is that the specialist takes time to fully understand their medical situation and diagnosis prior to the consultation.
  • 78% said that they were likely to seek a second opinion if the service was offered as a benefit by their employer.

A secondary learning also emerged as respondents continually prioritized the benefits of a faster, more high-touch approach to care. While 50% of the respondent sample was unaware that concierge health services were available to them, 62% said the most appealing aspects of such a service were fast and easy access to a doctor, while 57% reported that minimal wait times were the most appealing factor.

“The findings from the survey clearly underscore multiple healthcare challenges patients are facing. Speed, cost and quality are always top-of-mind these days, but in the case of a life-altering diagnosis when every moment counts, a delay in getting an appointment or a lack of access to specialty care can change the course of a patient’s future,” said Frank McGillin, CEO of The Clinic at Cleveland Clinic. “When they need it most, patients crave the direct, hands-on attention of a qualified medical specialist, and they should never have to settle for less. Creating a faster, more convenient way for patients to obtain that specialized care not only goes a long way in ensuring peace of mind, but also in improving outcomes.”

When considering the future of care, respondents reported hesitations with AI-powered healthcare services and prioritized familiar, provider-driven treatment options. 38% of respondents said they’d be less likely to pursue a second opinion if they knew the specialist uses AI tools to help diagnose conditions.

The report draws on data from more than 400 patient respondents, aged 25+, representing a sampling proportional to the U.S. general population census data across four major US regions, with a 50/50 male-female ratio (+/- 5%).

To learn more about the survey and to access the full report, click here.

About The Clinic by Cleveland Clinic™ 

Each year, millions of Americans receive a life-changing healthcare diagnosis and face new, difficult or confusing decisions about medical treatment. The Clinic by Cleveland Clinic was founded for these life-changing moments. As a leading provider of virtual second opinions, The Clinic believes that patients should never have to settle for anything less than a clear and confident path forward. A transformative joint venture between Cleveland Clinic and Amwell, The Clinic uses Amwell’s leading connectivity technologies to enable patients to access Cleveland Clinic’s deep and comprehensive medical expertise, including 3,500 clinical specialists in more than 550 advanced subspecialties. The Clinic offers fully secure video consultations, digital record collection and concierge-level service to patients, health plans and more. For more information about The Clinic, visit and follow on LinkedIn.  

The Editorial Team at Healthcare Business Today is made up of skilled healthcare writers and experts, led by our managing editor, Daniel Casciato, who has over 25 years of experience in healthcare writing. Since 1998, we have produced compelling and informative content for numerous publications, establishing ourselves as a trusted resource for health and wellness information. We offer readers access to fresh health, medicine, science, and technology developments and the latest in patient news, emphasizing how these developments affect our lives.