Cedars-Sinai launches customized, convenient virtual 2nd opinion throughout New Jersey

Cedars-Sinai is taking telehealth and the patient experience to the next level with its latest offering, Cedars-Sinai Virtual Second Opinion — an online platform connecting New Jersey residents in need of complex cardiac, spine or gynecologic care with top-ranked experts who provide customized treatment options and virtual education sessions.

Participants throughout New Jersey can access Cedars-Sinai’s experts online without having to leave home. The program, launched initially in the Smidt Heart Institute at Cedars-Sinai, also is available in Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, South Carolina, Utah, Vermont, Virginia and Washington.

The Virtual Second Opinion program strives to fully inform participants about specific treatment options — empowering individuals to make the best decisions for their health care needs.

“When you need specialized care for the most complex conditions, expertise matters,” Dr. Joanna Chikwe, professor and chair of the Department of Cardiac Surgery at Cedars-Sinai, said. “So does convenience and speed. One of the special things about Virtual Second Opinion is that the physician can give each participant completely individualized and tailored treatment options.”

Within 24 hours of requesting a Virtual Second Opinion, individuals are matched with a nurse coordinator who conducts a detailed intake and partners with the participant to collect and organize all necessary medical records.

Participants are then matched with a Cedars-Sinai physician with specialized expertise. The physician provides a detailed second-opinion report with an analysis of each participant’s past medical history and their previous doctor’s recommendations. The report also provides detailed answers to three questions participants can ask during enrollment.

Participants also can take advantage of a live, virtual, 30-minute education session with their Cedars-Sinai expert to review the findings, ask additional questions and discuss actionable next steps. Individuals can arrange to use a smartphone, laptop or other webcam-enabled device for the meeting, which will be conducted from the comfort of their home.

The aim is for the participant to have the educational session within six business days from the time medical record collection is complete. Cedars-Sinai physicians provide second opinions for dozens of highly complex diseases and conditions.

Individuals can use their flexible spending accounts or health savings accounts to pay a one-time fee not covered by insurance.