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Doctors and Data Agree: Second Opinions Improve Patient Outcomes

There are two words to describe Medical Second Opinions:  Potentially Valuable.  

Consider this April 2021 National Library of Medicine article (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8105538/)

“Although some patients and providers believe that second opinions are not needed, extensive evidence indicates that provider diagnostic accuracy is highly imperfect. In the case of thyroid fine-needle aspiration (FNA) biopsies, for example, diagnostic disagreement occurred in 26% of cases in one study and 13% in another. In urologic cancers, Wayment et al found a 10% diagnostic disagreement whereas another study examining them noted a discrepancy in scoring in 15% of samples, with 46% requiring an upgrade and 54% being downgraded.

Similar rates of disagreement occur for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder medication doses, detection of abnormalities in neuroradiology studies, and testicular cancer therapy plans. Another study from Mayo Clinic in 2017 established that only 12% of final diagnoses were the same as the initial, with 66% better defined/refined, and 21% had a substantially different diagnosis. Another study in 2014 reported that 1 in 20 patients were misdiagnosed.”

The fact is, second opinions are mutually beneficial for patients and doctors alike, and the availability of a second opinion has become exponentially easier in recent years due to changes in virtual medicine.

Remission Medical Offers Second Opinions in all 50 US States

Sometimes called “eConsults,” Remission Medical offers second in all 50 states plus Washington, D.C.

Despite the many benefits of second opinions in the medical setting, patients have  underutilized them for years. This could all be about to change in the face of new research and advances in telehealth.

A new Mayo Clinic study published in April confirmed that getting a second opinion cuts the chance of misdiagnosis in half. Researchers analyzed the function of second opinions in correcting diagnostic errors and professional or unconscious biases, including ego and hindsight biases, as well as financial interests. They found that second opinions cut the rate of diagnostic errors from 26%-50%, with a third opinion driving it down even further to 16%.

The study adds to the growing body of research that proves the indisputable value of second opinions, all with statistically significant results.

This study by Mayo Clinic (https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/jep.12747) found that 1 in 5 patients receive a distinctly different diagnosis from their second doctor. Contrasting first and second diagnoses of patients referred to specialists, the study revealed that out of 286 cases reviewed, only 12% received a second diagnosis that matched the first.

The remaining 87% of second diagnoses, nearly 9 out of 10 patients, either led to a refinement of the first diagnosis or a distinctly different diagnosis.

Further, even when the second opinion confirms the first, patients gain confidence in that diagnosis and may even get new information on potential treatment plans.

If you are facing a complex medical issue, the Remission Medical Opinion Program provides access to expertise that can inform your most important care decisions. The program allows you to connect with our world-class doctors without leaving home. Create an account and we’ll review your medical records, imaging, and test results to send you personalized treatment recommendations.

We offer second opinions on any/all rheumatologic conditions (joint/tissue pain), including:

 

Benefits of a Second Opinion With Remission Medical

  • Expert opinions from seasoned Remission Medical rheumatologists
  • We offer “inside one week” second opinions living anywhere in the USA
  • Access to advanced diagnostic and treatment options
  • Follow-up care available to address your questions and concerns
  • Savings on the time and costs you spend to find insight into your case
  • Peace of mind when you need to make crucial decisions about care.