Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh is about to see a lot of new patients — but not in person.
As of March 1, 2014 the hospital will become the exclusive pediatric provider for tele-health company MDLIVE.
MDLIVE provides online and on-demand health care services and software for more than 3 million users throughout the U.S.
Harun Rashid, Children’s Hospital chief information officer, said the partnership will allow people throughout the country to connect with the hospital’s specialized doctors.
“We are very unique in that we do, we’re national leaders in transplants and some of the other work,” Rashid said. “And they could actually seek those physicians and make connections from the second opinion and then travel to seek further treatment because they will be familiar with that specialized doctor.”
Rashid said patients seeking a second opinion would go into the MDLIVE portal and fill out information about their child.
They then have the opportunity to upload any kind of information needed such as medical records, x-rays and imaging data, which will be sent to the specialist in Lawrenceville.
The doctor’s office will then set up an appointment for the consultation.
“As the patient, you could choose to say, ‘You know, I just want to have a phone conversation’ or ‘I just want an email feedback on what that physician thinks is the second opinion to this’ or ‘I want to do a face-to-face video conferencing,’” Rashid said. “We have the capability to do any one of those things that the patient likes.”
Rashid said the doctors will work with the patient’s primary care provider to ensure that the second opinion goes back to the right doctor who can move forward with the appropriate treatment.
He said receiving a second opinion can help reassure parents or guide them toward another option.
“It gives you an added assurance when you have somebody like Children’s Hospital, which is one of the top ten hospitals in the country to be able to reach out to a specialist and say ‘I’m being recommended for certain things and I’d like to get some confirmation that this diagnosis or treatment plan is the recommended or best option for my child,’” Rashid said.
Users pay MDLIVE directly and, after keeping a percentage, the company sends the fee along to Children's to be distributed to the physician that offered the second opinion.
Because the consultations are set up at the doctor's convenience, Rashid says Children's will not have to add any doctors to it staff to help cover the workload.