Highmark Teams with Best Doctors to Improve Diagnostic Accuracy

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BOSTON AND PITTSBURGH – April 11, 2017 – Highmark, Inc., the nation’s fourth largest Blue Cross and Blue Shield-affiliated organization, and Best Doctors® today announced their partnership to provide virtual expert second opinions for Highmark members and their physicians dealing with rare or complex medical conditions. Best Doctors, the global leader in the effort to assure diagnostic and medical certainty, provides access to more than 53,000 of the world’s brightest minds in over 450 medical specialties, without the need for patients to travel far from home. Data from Best Doctors show that consultation with its experts results in corrected or refined diagnosis in 37 percent of its U.S.-based cases and corrects or improves treatment in nearly 75 percent of cases.

“Improving the quality and value of care delivery is the mission that drives both our organizations,” noted Peter McClennen, CEO of Best Doctors, Inc. “Best Doctors’ partnership with Highmark is an example on how two companies with a shared vision can work together to transform health care and improve the patient experience.”

“Highmark chose to partner with Best Doctors on second opinions because their process is patient-centric and clinically collaborative,” said Charles DeShazer, M.D., chief medical officer at Highmark. “We like that medical decision-making remains at the local level with the treating physician because this fosters continuity of care.”

With the member’s permission, his/her Highmark case manager collaborates with a case manager at Best Doctors. Together they gather the member’s complete medical record, avoiding the fragmentation of records which often complicates the diagnostic picture. The information and scans are carefully compiled to help provide a clearer view of the patient’s entire history with the Best Doctors expert. These experts are clinically and academically accomplished, affiliated with national and global centers of excellence and elected by their peers to the top five percent of U.S. physicians. They then undertake a structured and comprehensive review, devoting many clinical hours to each case, analyzing it from multiple angles in a criterion-based review before preparing their report, which is shared with the Highmark member and his/her doctor.

“Medicine is a collaborative process and doctors learn from each consultation,” DeShazer added. “With Best Doctors, they’re gaining the opportunity to learn from the very best. Members may decline the second opinion, but experience indicates Best Doctors’ recommendations are incorporated into the treatment plan over ninety percent of the time, indicating the high value physicians place on these experts’ opinions.”

Highmark members with complex conditions and multiple comorbidities, elusive diagnoses, multiple hospitalizations and ER visits and facing decision points in care are the best candidates for the program. Best Doctors will be available for Highmark’s fully insured customers, as well as to Highmark’s Affordable Care Act (ACA) members.

“The uncertainty of not knowing your diagnosis or receiving an incorrect one comes with a tremendous physical, emotional and financial toll,” added McClennen. “This partnership between Highmark and Best Doctors represents an opportunity to reverse that negative impact and bring peace of mind to many patients simply looking for the right answers.”

ABOUT HIGHMARKHighmark Inc. and its health insurance subsidiaries and affiliates collectively are among the ten largest health insurers in the United States and comprise the fourth-largest Blue Cross and Blue Shield-affiliated organization. Highmark and its diversified businesses and affiliates operate health insurance plans in Pennsylvania, Delaware and West Virginia that serve 5 million members and hundreds of thousands of additional members through the Blue Card program. Its diversified businesses serve group customer and individual needs across the United States through dental insurance, vision care and other related businesses. Highmark is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, an association of independent Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies. For more information, visit

ABOUT BEST DOCTORS, INC.Founded in 1989 by Harvard Medical School physicians, Best Doctors is a medical information services company that connects individuals facing difficult medical treatment decisions with the best doctors, ranked by impartial peer review in over 450 subspecialties of medicine, to review their diagnosis and treatment plans. Best Doctors has grown to over 40 million members worldwide, utilizing access to the brightest minds in medicine, analytics and technology to deliver improved health outcomes while reducing costs. For further information, visit Best Doctors at

To schedule an interview with Best Doctors’ Executive Team, contact Justin Joseph at Ph: 617-359-5522 or [email protected].

To schedule an interview with Highmark, contact Wendy Morphew at Ph: 412-544-3616, Cell: 917-697-1782 or [email protected].

© Best Doctors and the star-in-cross logo are trademarks of Best Doctors, Inc., in the United States and in other countries, and are used under license.