Medical Second Opinion Market

Global Industry Analysis (2018 – 2021) – Growth Trends and Market Forecast (2022 – 2026)

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Need for Healthcare Cost Optimization and Superior Treatment Outcomes Boost Demand for Medical Second Opinions

Global healthcare spending in the year 2020 was ~US$ 8< trillion and is anticipated to reach more than US$ 8.5 trillion in 2021. The worldwide healthcare infrastructure is experiencing tremendous pressure shelling out billions of dollars. There is wider call to cut healthcare spending from all industry stakeholders. Patients, providers, payers, and employers are equally experiencing monetary pain coping up with swelling healthcare necessities. Similarly, medical errors are also shaking up confidence of patients and payers at core. A survey conducted by Wolters Kluwer in 2012 revealed that 33% Americans experienced a medical error in the form of wrong treatment, wrong medication, or wrong dosage. As per the World Health Organization (WHO) statistics, medical errors take five lives every minute and cost $40 billion annually. The demand for medical second opinion continues to be on the rise, creating a global market worth of multi-billion dollars valuation. A 2017 Mayo Clinic study found that ~ 88% of patients looking for a medical second opinion end up receiving a refined diagnosis.

Medical second opinions are one of the most effective way outs when it comes to prevention of gross medical errors, avoiding unnecessary surgeries, and bypassing unnecessarily expensive treatments. Staggering statistics revealed by a few major second opinion medical service providers in the US misdiagnoses are found in up to 20% of cases and treatment changes are recommended in >50% of them. With many employer incentivizing, second opinion services are becoming mainstream. Business Group on Health (NBGH) statistics reveal that 66% of the US employers are currently paying a fee for second opinion services of employees. Thus, medical second opinion is helping all the healthcare industry stakeholders in one way or the other, weathering spending pressure storms like the COVID-19 pandemic. The advancements in telecommunications and change in patient preferences are going to push penetration of second opinion services in post COVID-19 era.

Increasing Digitization to Shove Adoption of Remote Medical Second Opinion Services

Upsurge in the usage of technologically advanced alternatives such as remote patient monitoring, and other telemedicine services is favoring the penetration of remote second opinion services in the global market. Increased usage of telehealth solutions has been clearing the way for convenient and affordable healthcare services, which are easily integrated with primary care improving care continuity, ultimately leading to better patient outcomes. Telemedicine technologies and services can bridge the rural-urban divide in terms of medical facilities, extending low-cost consultation, and diagnosis facilities to the highly remote areas via high-speed Internet and telecommunication.

Moreover, continued integration of Artificial Intelligence (AI) into telemedicine technology should increase the ease of usability for the health apps. It also improves healthcare access and assists patients in adhering to alternative treatment plans. More than half the smartphone users in the US consult their phone before a doctor for health advice. Thus, the remote second opinion segment can ride the growth momentum generated by complementary sectors such as telemedicine in the future.

Oncology Treatment and Diagnosis to Occupy Largest Value Share

The growing complexities in contemporary medical practices, particularly sub-specialisation, has increased the frequency and broadened the circumstances under which second opinions are preferred. Growing prevalence and severity is the reason why most cancer patients prefer to go for second and subsequent medical opinions. According to a recent analysis of 330 oncology cases by Partners HealthCare System, Inc., 12% of the reviewed cases resulted in different diagnoses, while 90% resulted in either a new plan or a significant change in prior treatment plan. Other preferred therapeutic areas for second opinions include cardiology, neurology, organ transplant, hematology, nephrology, and orthopedics. Second opinion has its relevance among almost all critical acute as well as chronic ailments, which further pushes the growth of medical second opinion market.

North America Leads Global Medical Second Opinion Market

North America currently holds a major market share on account of high patient awareness, superior healthcare infrastructure, and favourable government initiatives. The US government supports through favourable reimbursement programmes such as Medicare that covers second opinion in some non-emergency surgical procedures. Moreover, the US has been the global hub for leading healthcare technology start-ups. Many of these companies are rapidly disrupting the medical technology space, which works in favour of the market growth in the US.

Strategic Collaborations and Funding to be Long-term Growth Levers for Companies

The US telemedicine industry witnessed M&A and financing deal valued worth $ 864 Mn in 2020. The US federal government has also proposed a $200MM programme to fully fund telehealth services for eligible providers. Multiple companies are exploring their competitive potential through strategic partnerships in pursuit of inorganic growth opportunities. In January 2021, Benefits navigation startup Accolade acquired second opinion startup 2nd.MD for $460 Mn. The deal is expected to increase Accolade’s total addressable market by $22 Bn.

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. are some of the most prominent players actively participating in global medical second opinion market landscape.

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