According to PRNewswire, Express Scripts announced a new program to benefit people living with rare diseases on May 31st. The program, called Second Opinion is part of the company’s larger Rare Conditions Care Value. Second Opinion is offered in partnership with health advisory firm PinnacleCare. It is intended to ease the difficulties patients face in seeking an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan. Keep reading to learn more, or follow the original story here for more information.
According to some estimates, it can take an average of almost eight years for a person with a rare disease to receive an accurate diagnosis. A handful or more of different doctors are often involved in this process. Even after a person knows what condition they are living with, treatment is not always obvious. Treatment can often require tailoring to the individual patient. Wisdom from a specialist can be indispensable when physicians are less familiar with an uncommon diagnosis.
That’s exactly what Second Opinion offers. The program effectively connects patients with well respected specialists, eliminating the need for a number of additional doctor’s visits.
The amount of guesswork this takes out of the equation significantly reduces the emotional weight place don the patient. Fewer hospital trips and appointments can also mean less financial and physical costs as well.
PinnacleCare services services have thus far proved effective. Patients using the service experienced a change in diagnosis or treatment just under 80% of the time.
Through its Rare Conditions Care Value program, Express Scripts is attempting to serve a growing population. The term rare disease may be appropriate when referring to the occurrence of any single condition, but as a group, the number of rare diseases patients does not quality as small. Conditions such as Huntington’s, Gaucher, and hemophilia have all seen a rise in diagnosis rates and treatment usage in the last several years.
Since there are 7,000 different rare diseases recognized by the medical community, then a person with a rare disease in America is about as common as a person with diabetes– while each individual condition is unusual, as a group, the rare community is huge.
PinnacleCare’s Chief Medical Officer says that as the number of rare diseases recognized increases, as the number of available treatment options increase, and as the costs of treatment increases it becomes more and more important to ensure patients have access to accurate diagnoses. He believes working with Express Scripts will allow Second Opinion to fill that need.