Some decisions require a good deal of thought and collaboration. It is perfectly natural to consult the advice of others for guidance. The very same premise applies to healthcare. When you lack confidence or clarity in diagnosis or treatment relating to a serious medical issue, it’s time for a second opinion. No need for hesitation, most doctors welcome the practice. In fact, they too are accustomed to seeking the opinions of their colleagues in the course of patient care.
Obtaining a second medical opinion is not a casual endeavor. Check with your health insurance company to confirm what is required for coverage. Your current specialist or primary care physician is a good source for referral to the second opinion. The consulting doctor should have the same level of training and experience, but should not be a close colleague of the first. Other resources for the second specialist include the insurance provider, local medical center, medical association or online search. Some well-known medical institutions such as, Mayo Clinic, Cleveland Clinic and Weill Cornell offer online consultation. In all cases, medical records must be shared from the first opinion.
10 Good Reasons to Seek a Second Opinion
- Diagnosis is unclear or in question
- Doctor says nothing can be done
- Treatment is unsupported by clinical evidence for your condition
- Current treatment is not working
- The communication is poor
- You are concerned about the risks and potential side effects
- You have a rare condition and need an experienced specialist
- The doctor cannot identify the problem
- The doctor is dismissive of your concerns
- Peace of mind
Remember, you are an equal partner in the management of your healthcare and the decision making process. It is helpful to organize your questions and concerns, in writing for review with the first and second doctor. Communication is key to a successful doctor/patient relationship. Read more about how to Communicate Better With Your Doctor.