Health IT, Patient Engagement

Mass General to offer second opinions by telemedicine

The Boston hospital will launch its direct-to-consumer service this fall, Mass General’s telehealth director said at mHealth + Telehealth World.

Massachusetts General Hospital is getting ready to launch an online telemedicine service for patients to seek second opinions, the hospital’s telehealth chief said Tuesday.

The MGH-branded offering will debut at an undetermined time this fall, Sarah Sossong, director of Mass General TeleHealth, said at the mHealth + Telehealth World conference in Boston. Sossong told MedCity News that the yet-unnamed service would offer remote second opinions in multiple specialties, but would not comment further.

Sossong referred MedCity News to the Harvard-affiliated hospital’s marketing department. We will update this story if we receive a response.

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At mHealth + Telehealth World, Sossong discussed MGH’s multipronged approach to telemedicine. The hospital currently offers both synchronous and asynchronous services, including clinicians-to-patient “visits” and clinician-to-clinician “consults.”

Because Massachusetts does not mandate that private insurers reimburse telehealth services at the same level as in-person encounters or offer telehealth parity for state employee health plans, a direct-to-consumer service that charges patients up front could prove to be lucrative for Mass General.

During her presentation to the conference, Sossong said that Mass General currently offers online second opinions through contracts with employer groups. The hospital does get reimbursed by Medicaid and some private payers for certain cancer, cardiology, gastrointestinal, neurology, pediatrics, internal medicine, mental health and surgical follow-ups with patients in their homes.

Image: Massachusetts General Hospital