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Program FAQs

What is Summus?

Summus is the technology platform that will help facilitate your remote second opinion. You will use the Summus platform to request your second opinion and access all information related to your active and past opinions. We've partnered with Summus to connect you with a leading specialist at Boston Children's for your specific medical needs. Summus makes the process simple and convenient — their care team will reach out to you to understand your diagnosis and help you craft questions for the expert, collect your medical records when appropriate, and walk you through the written opinion from Boston Children's.

How does PinnacleCare assist in the process?

PinnacleCare will help guide you through the remote second opinion process, on behalf of Boston Children’s Hospital. A dedicated team of advisors and physicians will help collect medical records relevant to your diagnosis, select the appropriate Boston Children’s specialist to review your case, and help answer any questions you may have along the way.

How does the Online Second Opinion Program work?

Boston Children's Hospital has partnered with Summus, a leading healthcare organization, in liaising patients with experts. When you request an online second opinion, you will be assigned a Care Advisor from PinnacleCare to help guide and answer questions along the way.

Can the online second opinion program be used for medical emergencies or urgent care?

This program IS NOT designed to handle medical emergencies or provide immediate treatment guidance. If this is a medical emergency, please immediately call your local emergency service number (911 in the United States) to get prompt medical attention or go to your nearest hospital, emergency room, or urgent care center. The turnaround time for this service is 7 to 10 business days from when all records are collected. Please do not rely on electronic communications for assistance with immediate, urgent medical issues.

Are there any states or countries where you do not offer this service?

If you are a resident of Massachusetts, we encourage you to come to one of our many Massachusetts-based offices. Please use our Find a Doctor tool to find the right specialist for your family.

We may not be permitted to offer online second opinions to patients who are residents of or have current mailing addresses in certain countries. If you would like to find out if our online second opinion services are available in your country, please go to the Boston Children's Departments page to select the program that your child needs.

What if my child or I have a Cardiology & Esophageal & Airway Treatment Center request?

The Department of Cardiology and the Esophageal and Airway Treatment Center each offer their own separate online second opinion programs. Please visit the below pages to contact their department:

What if my child or I have a request that is not suitable for an online second opinion, such as PANS/PANDAS, ROHHAD, AFM?

If you are seeking a second opinion for one of these diagnoses, please contact the specialty department:

Payment FAQs

When is payment due?

An online second opinion from Boston Children's costs $850 for most requests and $1,150 for cancer and blood disorder requests. Payment is due when your online second opinion request is submitted. All major credit cards (MasterCard, Visa, American Express, and Discover) are accepted. You may also use your Health Saving Account (HSA) or Flexible Spending Account (FSA) to cover the cost.

Why is there a separate fee for cancer and blood disorder cases?

The cost difference between case types is due to the multidisciplinary and complex nature of cancer and blood disorder cases, often requiring input from multiple specialists. If the Boston Children's physician reviewing the case suggests another review of pathology results, your care coordinator will contact you regarding the next steps. Please note that an additional fee may be charged.

Does my insurance cover the second opinion?

Currently, most health plans do not cover online second opinions or consultations, so patients are responsible for the cost of the opinion. You may also elect to use your Health Saving Account (HSA) or Flexible Spending Account (FSA) to cover the cost. Boston Children's Hospital will not file a claim with your insurance carrier, nor can we provide a procedure (CPT) code for this Online Second Opinion service.

What if I cannot afford the consult or ancillary fees for an online second opinion?

Please contact Boston Children's Hospital Patient Financial Services at 617-355-3397 for additional options when seeking an expert second opinion.

Will you store my credit card information?

Neither we nor Summus store any credit card information in our system. All financial transactions are processed by Summus securely using industry standard payment processing tools.

Process FAQs

Does a Boston Children’s doctor examine my child?

No. Online second opinions are performed remotely. Therefore, there is no need for an in-person examination. The Boston Children's physician will provide your second opinion after carefully reviewing all of the comprehensive medical information that is collected by PinnacleCare, which includes your local doctor's findings during your child's physical examination.

Who chooses the physician who will provide my child’s online second opinion?

After carefully reviewing your second opinion request and medical records, our experienced clinical team at PinnacleCare will determine which Boston Children's physician specialist is most appropriate to handle your online second opinion case. You may request a particular physician, and PinnacleCare as well as Boston Children's will try to accommodate that request, but we cannot guarantee that specialist will be assigned to your case.

What if I decide to cancel my online second opinion?

If you wish at any time to stop the online Second Opinion process, please contact your personal care coordinator. However, once you have authorized us to proceed (upon completion of the online steps), we have received payment, and we have begun working on your request, we will not be able to refund payment.

What if my child is hospitalized?

Patients who are hospitalized often have frequent clinical changes that prevent the expert from being able to give up-to-date and relevant advice in the remote setting. The ability to proceed with these cases will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis, depending on the patient's condition. For patient safety and quality, we cannot provide expert opinions for patients who are in an intensive care unit.

What kind of computer do I need to access an online medical second opinion?

As long as your computer has Internet access and a common web browser, it is likely you may use our site and successfully submit a request. Our Online Second Opinion Program website is compatible with all current operating systems and most browsers.

Do I need an email account to request an online second opinion?

Yes. Our staff will need to communicate with you via email to let you know that new information has been sent to your secure online portal account, which you will set up during registration. We do not send any medical information to your email account since email is not a secure environment. We strictly send reminders and/or status update notifications about your second opinion, letting you know to log on to your secure account.

Who will obtain my medical records and clinical information?

If you are based in the U.S., the PinnacleCare team will work with the physician practices and hospitals you designate to collect your relevant medical records and information. This includes paper documents, CDs, and any radiological (e.g. x-ray) films. If the Boston Children's specialist requires additional documentation for your child (to include pathological slides and paraffin blocks), PinnacleCare will work with you to obtain that information.

International patients are required to collect, upload, and translate their medical records. PinnacleCare will be available to guide you through this process.

We cannot reimburse for translation services for medical records.

Can I add more records, labs, or scans once the case is underway?

Your case cannot be reviewed by an expert until we have received all of the required records. Should additional records, labs, or imaging become available once your case is underway, we regret that we cannot add them to your case, and as such the expert will not be able to review them. However, you are welcome to open and pay for a new case, and we can request the same expert who reviewed your first case. Please be aware that we cannot guarantee that the same expert will be available to review your second case.

How many questions can I ask the expert?

The patient family will work with the PinnacleCare Clinical Team to identify a total of eight appropriate questions to ensure they receive the most robust opinion. This ensures that the expert has sufficient time to devote to each question. All questions must be finalized before we reach out to the expert to review your case, and additional questions cannot be added once your case is assigned.

Can my medical records collected for this request be in a language other than English?

We are not able to process requests that are not in English, and we regret that we cannot provide a document translation service. All documents pertaining to your online second opinion must be translated into English prior to them being submitted to PinnacleCare.

We unfortunately cannot reimburse the cost for translations services for medical records.

Will my medical records and radiological (x-ray) films or pathology specimens be returned?

All copies of paper medical records that are sent to Summus will be destroyed once the information has been uploaded into our system. Medical imaging CDs and portable flash drives will be destroyed after the images and documents are uploaded, and therefore cannot be returned. Pathology specimens, including slides and tissue, will be returned directly to the institution from which they were received by Boston Children’s Hospital.

Who will update me on the status of my online second opinion request?

Your PinnacleCare Care Advisor will provide you with updates concerning the status of your case request. Based on your preference the update will come via phone or email.

How will I receive my online second opinion report?

When your child's second opinion report is completed, both you and your local physician will be notified via email that an update has been posted to your account. Your local physician will be able to securely retrieve the report from our second opinion portal using his or her own credentials. He or she can view the report online, print it out, or download it at their convenience. If an email address for your local physician is not provided at the time of registration, the PinnacleCare team will securely fax a copy of your child’s second opinion report directly to the local physician to review.

What will my online second opinion report include?

Your child's Boston Children's specialist will send you and your local treating physician a very thorough second opinion report addressing the questions you worked on with the PinnnacleCare Team. Potential outcomes include:

  • The Boston Children's specialist may have a different diagnosis and, therefore, suggest a completely different treatment plan to you and your local physician.
  • The Boston Children's specialist may agree with your local physician's diagnosis, but may offer a different treatment plan or additional treatment options.
  • The Boston Children's specialist may agree with the diagnosis and the treatment plan of your first opinion, and this second opinion confirmation offers you peace of mind that you are moving forward in the right direction.

Once you have received your second opinion, you are welcome to come to Boston Children's for your treatment.

When possible, your Boston Children's specialist may also refer you to the most current literature (such as medical journal articles) regarding your child's condition that may also help you make your health care decisions.

After you have received the second opinion report from your specialist at Boston Children's, you should schedule adequate time with your local treating provider to review the recommendations and work with him or her to refine your diagnosis, treatment plan, or plan of care.

What if I have follow-up questions for the expert after I have reviewed my second opinion?

If you have a clarifying question about an expert's response to one of the questions in your second opinion, and the PinnacleCare medical team is unable to address it, then the PinnacleCare medical team can contact the expert to request additional clarification.

You may ask a maximum of two clarifying questions within five business days of when the completed second opinion was made available to you. You may not introduce any new questions. Please note that we cannot guarantee that the expert will be available to answer your follow-up question(s).

Will you share my medical information with anyone else?

No. Only the PinnacleCare, Summus, and Boston Children's team managing your case will see your medical information. This team may include:

  • your Care Advisor at PinnacleCare
  • PinnacleCare physician who helps triage your request to the most appropriate Boston Children's specialist
  • Boston Children's physician(s) who author(s) your second opinion
  • any medical consultants, such as pathologists, radiologists, or other Boston Children's health care professionals, who may be asked to review your case
If I decide to bring my child to Boston Children’s for treatment, can he or she see the same doctor who provided my online second opinion?

Yes, you may request to see the same physician. However, if your second opinion physician specialist has a long wait time, you may elect to see one of his or her physician colleagues. It is also possible that your medical problem requires your child to see another Boston Children's specialist. If this is the case, the appointment schedulers will coordinate your appointments for you.