With four young children and a thriving small business, William Scott does not have time to be sick. And he certainly does not have time to fly from Idaho to Ohio to seek medical advice. That is why he was thrilled to be able to use a convenient online service that provided him with a medical second opinion from the nation's #1 ranked heart center, Cleveland Clinic.
Scott needs occasional treatment for a heart condition called atrial fibrillation, which causes his heart to beat irregularly. But medical care takes time, and time is money - especially when you are operating a business in the tough economic times the nation is currently experiencing.
"I was happy to find out about Cleveland Clinic's online service called MyConsult," he says. "I thought if I could do this online versus traveling to Ohio; it would save me a big trip. As long as they have all my medical records, the doctors can provide me with a second opinion. By doing this online, I was able to take advantage of the best cardiac institution in the country, without the time and expense of actually going there."
Scott and his wife operate a social work case management business out of their home in Deary, Idaho. With 25 employees, the service helps people access needed healthcare services. They are also starting up a related business, which involves renting out personal medical response systems. In addition, William Scott serves as an emergency medical technician (EMT) with a local ambulance company.
Scott, 42, first became aware of his heart problem years ago. "When I ran track and cross country in high school, my doctor told me I really shouldn't be running because my heart beat irregularly," he says. "But I ignored that because I had been running all along with no trouble."
Then one day when he was 21, someone gave him a hug and remarked that his heart made funny noises. "That's when I realized I should probably get it checked out," Scott says. "The doctors diagnosed the atrial fibrillation and treated it, and it didn't bother me again for a long time."
When Scott was 35, stress with work set his heart into an abnormal rhythm again. This time, his physician told him that he should have a cardioversion, a treatment for arrhythmia that involves sending electrical energy to the heart muscle to restore normal rhythm. After taking blood thinners for a month, Scott had the cardioversion. His stress subsided, and he went back to life as normal.
"Then this summer, my mother-in-law passed away while she was visiting us," says Scott. "That, combined with a lack of sleep, set my heart into arrhythmia again. I recognized the problem, and since I'm an EMT, I went into the ambulance and did an EKG on myself. The doctor's office was pretty surprised when I walked in and told them I needed treatment for my atrial fibrillation."
When the physician recommended another cardioversion, Scott hesitated. "This would be the third time I had a cardioversion," he says. "My mother said I should check out Cleveland Clinic because she had a friend who was helped by Cleveland Clinic doctors. This friend went from not being able to walk across the room to back to an active life."
While online reading the Cleveland Clinic website, Scott noticed a link to the MyConsult® Online Medical Second Opinion program. This sophisticated, Web-based program is an extension of Cleveland Clinic's 90-plus-year role as one of America's most respected referral institutions. The secure, online program provides medical second opinions from Cleveland Clinic specialists for more than 1,200 life-threatening and life-altering diagnoses.
"MyConsult is perfect for me because it's all done online and you don't have to actually travel to Cleveland Clinic," he says. "The only difficulty I had was getting permission from my doctors here to move ahead with a second opinion. We were getting close to the date of the conversion, and I wanted an answer quickly. Cleveland Clinic sent back their report in two days. I was very impressed."
Scott had been wondering if he should have an ablation, a therapy that uses radiofrequency waves on the heart to cure cardiac arrhythmias (irregular heartbeats). "Cleveland Clinic said an ablation was not necessary in my case," he says. "They concurred with my doctor here in Idaho who said I should have another cardioversion. I showed the report to my local doctor, who said it was thorough."
Being in the medical access business, Scott appreciated the ease of the MyConsult program to gain online access to Cleveland Clinic's experts. After having the cardioversion, Scott is feeling fine. This is a big relief for his wife and four children, aged 3, 8, 10 and 14. In addition to operating his business, he is back to other activities he loves - spending time with his family and enjoying woodworking, gardening and his amateur radio hobby.