Our online second opinion program offers patients access to leading specialists at UCSF Health, no matter where they live. If you are facing a complex medical issue or difficult treatment decision, having a second opinion from a world-class academic medical center can provide valuable guidance and peace of mind.
How It Works
UCSF has partnered with Included Health to provide this service. Included Health takes care of gathering the patient's relevant medical records and coordinates the entire process. The service is simple, convenient and completely confidential. Since everything is done remotely, patients don't need to travel to San Francisco.
The second opinion service can be very helpful if:
- You want a second opinion on your diagnosis
- You want a second opinion on your treatment recommendations
Note: If you prefer to make an in-person appointment, please call (888) 689-8273 for help finding a doctor or search our doctors and clinics online.
Frequently Asked Questions
- How does it work?
Get an online second opinion in four steps:
- Create an account, then open your case by clicking the green button on the patient dashboard. If you need help, please call Included Health, our second opinion partner, at (800) 941-1383 (domestic) or (775) 440-2557 (international). Help is available 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Pacific Time, Monday through Friday.
- You will be prompted to provide an email address, basic patient information, locations of your medical records and any specific questions you have about your condition.
- Included Health collects all your medical records and chooses the most appropriate UCSF Health doctor to review your case. Everything is handled securely to protect your privacy.
- The UCSF Health doctor reviews your diagnosis and treatment plan. This doctor will provide clear medical guidance in the form of a written second opinion, addressing the specific questions you submitted.
You will be assigned a personal care coordinator and staff doctor from Included Health. They will be your points of contact and will assist you throughout the process – handling logistics, collecting records, answering questions and ensuring your needs are met.
- How long does it take?
We do our best to deliver your written second opinion as quickly as possible. The time frame depends on how quickly Included Health is able to obtain all medical records relevant to your case. After these are collected, most patients receive their written second opinions within five to seven business days, depending on the complexity of the case and availability of the specialist best suited to review it.
Your Included Health personal care coordinator will keep you updated on the status of your request. You can also log in to your secure account at any time to track its progress.
- How much does it cost?
An online second opinion from UCSF Health costs $900. The following services are included:
- Access to a personal care coordinator and staff doctor from Included Health
- Collection, digitization and submission of your medical records by Included Health
- Medical review by a UCSF Health specialist
- A written opinion from this expert
- Follow-up to address questions and referral needs related to the second opinion
In rare cases, the doctor reviewing a case suggests another review of imaging tests or pathology reports (such as biopsy results). If this occurs, your personal care coordinator will contact you regarding the additional fees for these services.
- Will my insurance help pay for it?
Currently, most health plans don’t cover online second opinions or consultations, so patients are responsible for the cost. Payment is due when your second opinion request is submitted.
We accept all major credit cards (Mastercard, Visa, American Express and Discover). You may also use your health savings account (HSA) or flexible spending account (FSA) to pay. UCSF Health will not file a claim with your insurance carrier, nor can we provide a procedure (CPT) code for the online second opinion service.
- What if my medical records are in another language?
Medical records must be submitted in English. Please arrange for your records to be translated by a qualified medical translator before submitting them for review. You may use any qualified service of your choice, or contact Lan Do & Associates for assistance.
- What should I do once I have the second opinion?
The UCSF Health specialist may agree with your original diagnosis and treatment plan, offering you peace of mind that you’re making the right decisions regarding your care. It is also possible that the UCSF specialist will agree with the diagnosis but will offer different or additional treatment recommendations. Or the specialist may have a different diagnosis entirely and will recommend a different course of treatment.
Whatever the outcome, once you receive the report, you should schedule time with your local health care provider to review the recommendations and work together to design the best treatment approach for your case.
If you decide to come to UCSF for treatment, you will likely see the same doctor who provided your online second opinion. Nevertheless, you should call the clinic to confirm that this doctor is still the appropriate specialist for your case and is available to meet with you.
- Can I add more records, lab reports or images once the review of my case is underway?
Your case cannot be reviewed by an expert until we have received all the necessary records. Regrettably, after the review process has begun, we cannot add more records or test results to your case, so 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, and we can request the same expert who reviewed your first case. Please be aware that we can’t guarantee the same expert will be available.
- Who chooses the doctor providing my second opinion?
After carefully reviewing your second opinion request and medical records, our experienced team will determine which UCSF specialist is most appropriate for your needs. However, you may request a particular doctor, and Included Health as well as UCSF will try to accommodate your wishes, though we can’t guarantee that specialist will be assigned to your case.
- How many questions may I ask the expert?
Patients may ask a maximum of five questions. This ensures 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 can’t be added once your case is underway. Please note that there is no direct phone conversation with the expert, so it’s important that you submit all of your questions at the start of your case.
- What should I expect to receive once my second opinion is complete?
You’ll be notified when your completed second opinion is ready for your review. It will be in written form. After you have reviewed the second opinion, an Included Health clinician will follow up with you by phone to address general medical questions about the information provided in the second opinion.
- May I ask the expert follow-up questions after I’ve reviewed my second opinion?
If you desire clarification of the response to one of your submitted questions, and the Included Health doctor is unable to provide it, the Included Health doctor will try to contact the expert. Whether our experts can respond to follow-up questions depends on their availability; responses to 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 understand that you may not introduce new questions; they should be questions seeking clarity on what you’ve read. Included Health can help you arrange a visit with the expert, if needed.
Note: Do NOT use this service for medical emergencies or if you need immediate treatment guidance. If this is a medical emergency, please call your local emergency service number (911 in the U.S.) or go to the nearest emergency room.