Expecting a major surgery or deciding the course of action regarding a complex disease, healthcare decisions are not easy. American TelePhysicians 2nd Opinion Service can help you reach an informed decision.
A second opinion is an important part of becoming educated about your disease and your treatment options. The more you can learn about your diagnosis and your treatment options, the better chance you have of receiving the most appropriate treatment. Continued advances have made various complex diseases more treatable than in the past, but there are also many more treatment options and more complicated procedures. Advances in healthcare in general and Precision Medicine, in particular, are continuing at a rapid pace. Getting a second opinion will help you understand these options and help you make an informed decision about which is best for you. Second opinions will not offend competent physicians.
Second opinions will, however, provide reassurance to you and your family and ultimately allow you to receive the most appropriate therapy.
A second opinion is part of the education process that is critical for cancer patients. The treatment of diseases has evolved tremendously in the recent past. As a result, many conditions are now more treatable than they once were, especially if the appropriate initial treatment is selected. In order to receive appropriate treatment, patients must understand the in-depth knowledge of the condition they have and the treatment options that are available. However, there are also many more options for treatment and these options are more complicated than in the past. For these reasons and others, it is advantageous to seek more than one opinion about how your condition can be treated. Also, a second opinion provides the opportunity to get information from someone other than the physician who will be directing treatment, which is usually the main source of information for most patients. Second opinions are a common practice in any area of medicine that is complex and that has multiple treatment options available.
A 2017 study of 286 patients conducted by the Mayo Clinic found that as many as 88% of patients looking for a second opinion will leave the office with a new or refined diagnosis. Meanwhile, 21% of the people will leave with a “distinctly different” diagnosis. Conversely, the study, which was published in 2017 in the Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice, discovered that 12% of patients will learn that the original diagnosis was correct. This means that one out of every five patients they saw was incorrectly diagnosed.1
Meanwhile, a controversial study conducted by researchers at Johns Hopkins Medicine in 2016 says that medical errors should rank as the third leading cause of death in the United States, further supporting the need for second opinions. In their study, they estimated that more than 250,000 Americans die each year from medical errors, making errors the third leading cause of death behind heart disease and cancer. But they claim these errors are not accurately documented by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.