Frequently asked questions
Who is WorldCare International, Inc.?
Our mission is to improve the quality of health care worldwide by maximizing timely, efficient and strategic access to the best in health care. For more than 22 years, the global health care community has trusted us to help our members make more informed medical decisions through highly-personalized second medical opinion consultations. Our services connect millions of members with specialists at the world-class medical centers in the WorldCare Consortium®.
What is the WorldCare Consortium®
WorldCare was the first company to develop a rigorous second opinion process, which allowed for a rapid turnaround time. To this day, it is unprecedented to have several institutions of such high caliber working together in a cohesive effort. The original WorldCare Consortium® hospitals took a permanent seat on WorldCare’s Board of Directors and helped develop our corporate strategy. Today, we remain the only second opinion company with strategic, technological and operational relationships with top medical centers in the WorldCare Consortium®. Read more.
What is WorldCare ACCESS?
WorldCare ACCESS is a service available to our members only through their employers, insurers or health plan, which includes an in-depth medical second opinion by a team(s) of specialists/sub-specialists at a WorldCare Consortium® hospital(s) ® to confirm or modify your diagnosis, provide a recommended treatment plan and reassure you and your treating physician that you are making the best health care choices possible. Learn more.
What medical conditions are covered by WorldCare services?
WorldCare has provided more than 40,000 in-depth medical second opinions around the world, for a wide variety of serious illnesses. Although we have a standard list of around 25 covered conditions, this list varies by membership. If you are a member and would like to know if a condition is covered, please contact us.
When and why is an illness designated as serious?
Illnesses that require a multi-disciplinary approach (the collaboration of several medical disciplines) to arrive at the correct diagnosis and optimal treatment plan are designated as serious. If you are a member and want to know if an illness you are facing is serious, contact us.
Why do I need access to a second opinion?
Medicine is more complex and changing faster than ever before. With so many new advances, it’s impossible for any one doctor to stay on top of it all. That’s why WorldCare’s services are more important than ever. The American Cancer Society, the National Comprehensive Cancer Network, and many other organizations recommend second opinions for everyone newly diagnosed with cancer. Also, an independent study of WorldCare members who received second opinions found that 26 percent of them resulted in a change in diagnosis, while 75 percent resulted in recommended revisions to the treatment plan. By using the information and resources provided as a part of WorldCare’s services, you and your designated physician are reassured that you’re making the best health care choices possible.
Who are the physicians that provide medical second opinions?
All second opinions offered as a part of WorldCare services are provided by teams of acclaimed specialists/subspecialists at WorldCare Consortium® hospitals, all of which are top teaching and research hospitals in the U.S. Medical specialists, surgeons, pathologists, radiologists and other experts bring different skill sets and experience to each case. With any of WorldCare ACCESS‘s service options, a team of specialists are selected based on your particular medical needs. For example, a WorldCare member who is diagnosed with cancer may get a report that includes the collaborative efforts of a multi-disciplinary team, which includes an oncologist, radiologist, pathologist, radiotherapist and sub-specialist surgeon. This team approach is unique to WorldCare services.
What are the benefits of receiving a medical second opinion from WorldCare?
By accessing a medical second opinion through one of WorldCare’s service options, your diagnosis will be confirmed or modified, you will receive recommended treatment options and you will be empowered with the information needed to reassure you that you’re making the best health care choices. The correct diagnosis of a serious illness can be a complex process, due to the fact that the diagnosis might need a multi-disciplinary approach. Treatments for serious illnesses are constantly being refined and updated based on new medical research and innovation. The WorldCare Consortium® hospitals are world leaders in medicine. Therefore, the team that reviews your case may have access to research that other physicians may not be familiar with, which could modify your existing treatment plan and assure you the recommended treatment plans are based on the latest information and research available. Learn more.
Learn more about the benefits of offering WorldCare’s services to your employers, policyholders or subscribers.
Which hospitals provide second opinions through WorldCare?
WorldCare’s service options are unique in that they give you unparalleled access to the combined expertise of teams of specialists/sub-specialists at the top teaching hospitals in the U.S., the WorldCare Consortium®. The WorldCare Consortium® represents more than 18,000 specialists/sub-specialists with access to more than $3.5 billion dollars in annual research funding. However, it doesn’t stop there. WorldCare also has the unique ability to work with the very best institutions and physicians worldwide in addition to the relationship we have as our foundation with the WorldCare Consortium. Learn more.
Why does WorldCare work with the top teaching and research hospitals?
WorldCare has a long-term strategic alliance with the WorldCare Consortium® hospitals. These hospitals are recognized internationally for the quality of care they provide and they are committed to processing WorldCare cases. So each WorldCare case is held to the rigorous quality standards of the top hospital at which it is rendered. WorldCare cases are sent to specialists at the WorldCare Consortium® who work cohesively to offer different types of expertise for each case. Because they frequently work together, they know how to communicate and interpret each other’s comments to provide WorldCare members with a thorough medical review, diagnosis and treatment advice.
What is the impact of having a second opinion as part of one of WorldCare’s services?
An independent study of members who received a second opinion as a part of one of WorldCare’s services found that 26 percent of our second opinions resulted in a change in diagnosis while 75 percent resulted in recommended revisions to treatment plans. The fact is that any change or enhancement in the diagnosis or treatment plan, however small, can make a world of difference if you are facing a serious illness. If you are an employer, insurer or decision-maker deciding whether or not to offer WorldCare’s services, learn more about the value of doing so.
How do I initiate service?
WorldCare’s services are available to members only. If you have membership through your employer, insurer or health plan and would like to initiate a second opinion through one of our services, contact us to begin the process. A WorldCare Case Manager will outline the entire process for you and help you get started. Learn more.
Why is WorldCare’s process for obtaining a second opinion so rigorous and detailed?
The process for obtaining a second opinion by WorldCare simulates what takes place when a seriously-ill patient visits one of the WorldCare Consortium® hospitals. These hospitals are committed to providing the highest-quality care to their patients worldwide and must be sure that they thoroughly examine all of the patient’s medical records. WorldCare, as the coordinator and manager of this process, is responsible for the quality assurance and quality control of the entire operation and our medical staff is committed to providing our members with the best service possible.
The detailed medical records required by WorldCare provide additional assurance. The best quality medical second opinions require a review of all the original medical records. For this reason, WorldCare collects all primary records and forwards them to the most appropriate specialists/sub-specialists within the WorldCare Consortium® hospital. We rely on our members and their referring physicians to provide us with this information. Your WorldCare Case Manager will tell you if any additional information is needed by the consulting physicians.
When will I receive my second opinion?
Once we obtain your complete medical records, we do our best to return the report to both you and your designated physician within a few days. Certain cases involving pathology, translation or multiple second opinions from different hospitals may take longer. Your WorldCare Case Manager will keep you informed throughout the process on the status of your case.
How can WorldCare provide a second opinion within days upon receipt of all necessary medical records?
WorldCare and the hospitals within the WorldCare Consortium® are committed to a prompt response time. The physicians in the WorldCare Consortium® share WorldCare’s commitment and prioritize WorldCare cases in order to meet the prompt turnaround time. The multi-disciplinary, multi-institutional second opinions and quick response time is helped by WorldCare’s existing technology network, which connects the WorldCare team with the consulting physicians at the WorldCare Consortium® hospitals. This technology allows us to send cases electronically to one or more hospitals simultaneously, past their firewalls and directly into the hospitals’ workflow. This electronic communication with the WorldCare Consortium® hospitals is unique to WorldCare.
What happens if the recommendations differ significantly from the initial opinion, in terms of diagnosis or treatment?
In this situation, the case will be sent to another hospital for evaluation by another team of specialists – this is called a multi-institutional second opinion, which is uniquely available to WorldCare members. It is made possible due to our technology network. You and your designated physician will receive two independent second opinions from two separate medical centers.
What are the costs for the service?
The costs for access to WorldCare’s services are covered by your membership through your employer, insurer or health plan. WorldCare covers all the costs of shipping your medical records from your physician’s office to WorldCare and for digitizing and transmitting these records to the WorldCare Consortium® hospital. WorldCare then arranges for the specialists/sub-specialists at the WorldCare Consortium® hospital to create the second opinion report and we send a comprehensive WorldCare ACCESS Booklet to you and your physician, which includes the second opinions plus much more information at no cost.
What happens to my medical file after I receive a second opinion?
Every WorldCare case is stored digitally at WorldCare to facilitate follow-up and future services. WorldCare will try to send cases that need follow-up to the same specialists who first reviewed the case. This makes it easier for the specialists to compare your condition with your previous second opinion and examine any changes.
In what format will I receive the information?
We offer many options for how you and your physician can receive your information. The quickest and most popular method is via encrypted email, which ensures that the information provided is sent to you securely as soon as it passes final quality review. Other options include a hard copy booklet or an electronic copy on a USB drive along with copies of your medical imaging (in the original format your providers sent them to WorldCare). Both of these methods are sent to you via FedEx.
What should I do once I get my WorldCare ACCESS Booklet?
We strongly encourage you to contact your physician, who will also receive the report. Your second opinion report will be written physician-to-physician and therefore, may include technical information that your own physician will be able to explain. Your physician knows you best, and together, you can decide how the information we provide impacts your care.
Why does my physician need to participate? Why can’t I provide all the necessary medical records?
WorldCare’s services are designed to support your physician in the care he/she is currently providing you. By participating in the process, your physician continues to be the primary physician managing your care and helping you to make treatment decisions.
The information contained in your WorldCare ACCESS Booklet answers your questions and your physician’s questions regarding your future care, but it includes medical terminology that can be difficult for many people to understand. Your physician also receives the Booklet and can help you interpret the information and understand how it best relates to your care.
While some people have copies of some of the relevant medical records, very few people have all the information from all the different physicians they have seen, nor do they have ready access to pathology, tissue samples or CDs of radiology imaging (in diagnostic DICOM format). We usually rely on physicians and other health care providers for these materials, which can be a vital part of our service.
How does WorldCare protect my private information?
Your privacy is important to us and because of this we have taken strict confidentiality measures. None of the information you provide to WorldCare to be used for a second opinion will be shared with a third party without your written consent. The Patient Consent required for WorldCare to provide you with a second opinion gives us permission to use your medical information only for your second opinion. This consent may be withdrawn by you at any time. As well, WorldCare will never sell your personal information to a third party. All personal health information submitted to WorldCare is sent using secure methods and all records are immediately stored in a secure database. WorldCare’s information processes and procedures are compliant with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and treat all your personal and medical information as confidential.
What is “HIPAA” and how does it protect my privacy?
“HIPAA” refers to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, which was enacted on August 21, 1996. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services issued the “Privacy Rule” to implement the requirement of HIPAA. The Privacy Rule establishes, for the first time, a set of standards for the protection of certain health information. The Privacy Rule standards address the use and disclosure of individuals’ health information (called “protected health information” or PHI) by organizations subject to the Privacy Rule (called “covered entities,”) as well as standards for individuals’ privacy rights to understand and control how their health information is used.
A major goal of the Privacy Rule is to ensure that individuals’ health information is properly protected while still allowing the flow of health information needed to provide and promote high quality health care and to protect the public’s health and well being. The Privacy Rule defines and limits the circumstances in which an individual’s protected health information may be used or disclosed by covered entities. A covered entity may not use or disclose protected health information, except either: (1) as the Privacy Rule permits or requires; or (2) as the individual who is the subject of the information (or the individual’s personal representative) authorizes in writing.
For more information on HIPAA, visit the website of the United States Department of Health and Human Services.