Getting a Second Opinion Online

Seeking a second opinion can allay headache- and migraine-related fears. But most of us are lucky to have one good headache clinic within an eight-hour drive, let alone having two to choose from for a second opinion. How about getting that second opinion right from your computer?

Through e-Cleveland Clinic, patients pay $565 for a physician’s written second opinion and treatment recommendations. Insurance companies don’t pick up the cost, but if a second opinion would require substantial travel expenses, this might be a better option.

You have to register before you can access the list of more than 600 life-threatening or life-altering conditions included in the program. I searched for “migraine” and “headache.” Both times the only diagnosis listed was migraine associated vertigo/dizziness, but users can e-mail to see if their particular diagnosis is included even if it’s not on the list.

Partners Healthcare has a similar online consultation, but your doctor and the Partners’ doctor communicate with each other directly. Available consultants are arranged by specialty, not by diagnosis as at e-Cleveland Clinic, but neurology is available.

Fine print: These services are only for second opinions. You must submit all your prior health records for review. Residents of Washington DC, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Nevada, North Dakota, South Dakota, Oklahoma and Wyoming cannot use e-Cleveland clinic (although the article’s author got around this by using her parents’ address in Illinois). Partners’ services are unavailable in Iowa, South Carolina, Louisiana, Tennessee and Oregon.