Virtual Second Opinions Save Over $8,700 Per Patient, New Analysis Finds

Updated on June 14, 2024

A new quantitative case analysis from The Clinic by Cleveland Clinic, a leading provider of virtual second opinions (VSOs), reveals that its second opinions produce an average savings of $8,705 per patient. The study leveraged an independent third party to analyze The Clinic’s 2023 case data to understand the financial and health impact of VSOs for health plans and consumers.

Results also showed:

– 67% of The Clinic’s VSOs recommended a diagnosis or treatment plan change.

– In cases where the primary treatment plan included surgery, the VSO recommended an alternate treatment 85% of the time.

– Similarly, VSOs recommended hospitalization 62% less often than the primary treatment plans.

Misdiagnoses lead to 800,000 deaths or disabilities in the U.S. every year, and total costs related to misdiagnoses have been estimated in the hundreds of billions. The analysis of The Clinic’s VSOs demonstrates that second opinions from expert specialists can prevent misdiagnoses and overtreatment. It also demonstrates savings across all specialty areas.

Key findings from the analysis include: 

– $100,911 average savings per patient for high-cost cases (where the primary treatment plan cost was above $10,000)

– $28,220 average savings per patient with a musculoskeletal (MSK) condition

– $8,036 average savings per patient with a cardiovascular condition

– $4,306 average savings per patient with a cancer-related condition

In addition to savings, the analysis uncovered numerous examples of the dramatic impact of VSOs on patients’ peace of mind and quality of life. Frank McGillin, CEO of The Clinic by Cleveland Clinic, said: “Imagine discovering an alternative treatment that is less invasive and has better outcomes, or that you’re not destined to use an ostomy bag for the rest of your life. Even if major surgery is indeed right for you, a virtual second opinion provides confidence that you’re on the right path. The difference The Clinic can make in the cost of care matters, but the impact of getting care right is even more powerful.”

The quantitative case analysis was conducted by Vital Statistics, LLC, who securely and confidentially reviewed a random sample of 300 charts from The Clinic’s 2023 Virtual Second Opinion cases, using medical coding and industry-standard cost data to quantify savings associated with each case. Learn more about the analysis here.

About The Clinic by Cleveland Clinic™ 

Each year, millions of Americans receive a life-changing healthcare diagnosis and face new, difficult or complex 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 over 3,500 physicians 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.  

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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.