December 5, 2023

Oncology Takes Center Stage in the Medical Second Opinion Market: Analysis and Trends

As global healthcare spending continues to soar, reaching an estimated US$ 8.5 trillion in 2021, the pressure on healthcare infrastructure has never been greater. Patients, providers, payers, and employers are all grappling with the financial strain of burgeoning healthcare costs. Simultaneously, medical errors have eroded patient and payer confidence, costing lives and finances. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), medical errors claim five lives every minute, with an annual price tag of $40 billion.

In the face of these challenges, the demand for medical second opinions is surging, creating a multi-billion-dollar global market. Research shows that approximately 88% of patients seeking a medical second opinion receive a refined diagnosis, making it a powerful tool for preventing gross medical errors, avoiding unnecessary surgeries, and mitigating expensive treatments.

Medical Second Opinions: A Lifesaving Investment

Medical second opinions have proven to be an essential resource in preventing misdiagnoses. Shockingly, major second opinion medical service providers in the US report misdiagnoses in up to 20% of cases, with recommended treatment changes exceeding 50%. Recognizing the value of this service, 66% of US employers are currently investing in second opinion services for their employees, according to Business Group on Health (NBGH) statistics. This trend has provided a lifeline to healthcare industry stakeholders amidst the fiscal challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Embracing Telemedicine for Remote Second Opinions

The rise of telehealth solutions and remote patient monitoring has paved the way for the adoption of remote second opinion services globally. These technologies have made healthcare services more convenient and affordable while enhancing care continuity and improving patient outcomes. The integration of Artificial Intelligence (AI) into telemedicine technology is further enhancing healthcare access and patient adherence to alternative treatment plans.

The influence of complementary sectors, such as telemedicine, is expected to propel the growth of the remote second opinion segment in the post-COVID-19 era. In the US, more than half of smartphone users consult their phones for health advice before seeing a doctor, underlining the potential of this sector.

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Oncology Treatment and Diagnosis Takes Center Stage

Complex medical practices and sub-specialization have driven the preference for second opinions across various medical fields. Oncology stands out, with a significant number of cancer patients seeking second opinions due to the growing prevalence and severity of the disease. A recent analysis of 330 oncology cases revealed different diagnoses in 12% of cases and significant changes in treatment plans in 90% of cases. Other therapeutic areas where second opinions are preferred include cardiology, neurology, organ transplant, hematology, nephrology, and orthopedics.

North America Leading the Way

North America leads the global medical second opinion market, driven by high patient awareness, superior healthcare infrastructure, and supportive government initiatives. In the United States, government programs like Medicare cover second opinions for select non-emergency surgical procedures. Additionally, the US has become a global hub for healthcare technology start-ups, contributing to the market’s growth.

Strategic Collaborations and Funding Fuel Growth

The US telemedicine industry witnessed significant M&A and financing deals valued at $864 million in 2020. The US federal government has also proposed a $200 million program to fully fund telehealth services for eligible providers. Companies are exploring competitive potential through strategic partnerships to tap into inorganic growth opportunities. For example, in January 2021, Benefits navigation startup Accolade acquired second opinion startup 2nd.MD for $460 million, expanding its addressable market by $22 billion.

Leading players in the global medical second opinion market include WorldCare Inc., AXA PPP Healthcare, Mediguide International LLC, Teladoc Health, Cleveland Clinic, Lybrate, Helsana Group, GrandOpinion, Partners HealthCare System Inc., Cynergy Care, and Grand Rounds Inc.

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Global Industry Analysis, Size, Share, Growth, Trends, and Forecast 2023-2030 – By Product, Technology, Grade, Application, End-user, Region: (North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, Latin America and Middle East and Africa)

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This press release first seen on Brilad