A recent study found that 88 percent of patients that sought a second opinion from a doctor either learn a new diagnosis or new details on the old one. The research also revealed that 21 percent of patients living with a severe condition were originally misdiagnosed. In other words, a second opinion might have saved many of these patients’ lives.
The study which was conducted by a team of researchers at the Mayo Clinic appeared in the Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice. The analysis revealed that just 12 percent of patients learn the original diagnosis was correct and complete when they visit another doctor.
The study suggests these second opinions could boost the patients’ chances to have access to appropriate medical care that can literally save their lives. They will also be more likely to stay away from unnecessary treatment.
Lead author James Naessens said that the idea that 1 out of 5 patients are incorrectly diagnosed at a first look is ‘troubling’. What’s more, most of these patients are not being referred at all. So, second opinions are critical since the right diagnosis leads to the right treatment.
Researchers, however, have a piece of advice for patients who are concerned tey might be misdiagnosed. If they have a disease that is not improving or is just very serious, they should look for a second opinion. Study authors recommend paying a visit to doctors at a university medical center since they are more specialized.
In some cases, a third opinion is critical especially if the diagnoses are contradictory.
The study involved 286 patients who were tracked at the Mayo Clinic from 2009 to 2010. The study revealed that a second opinion can cost thousands of dollars more, but the price is well worth it.
Paying up front is much more cost effective than down the road,
one researcher noted.