Important Considerations When Getting a Second Opinion
When symptoms lead to a medical diagnosis that is serious, rare, or complex, one of the first things patients often do is wonder whether the diagnosis is accurate. A second opinion provides an opportunity to have a specialist or a team of specialists review your case and helps you avoid a misdiagnosis. Knowing what to consider in this situation will help ensure the best outcome.
The number of years a specialist has been practicing within their area of expertise is a crucial factor when contemplating a second opinion. Finding a specialist who is fellowship-trained with specific experience and success in his or her field is important. The quality and clinical depth of this medical review must meet the minimum standards for the treatment protocol. And, having a team of specialists, rather than just one other physician to review your case is optimal. This multi-disciplinary approach is the way good medicine is practiced today and should be an attribute to look for when seeking a second opinion.
Ideally, the second opinion service should be institution-based rather than physician-based. By selecting an institution-based second opinion provider, your case is reviewed by an entire team of specialists at top-ranked U.S. hospitals rather than just one physician. This multi-speciality approach virtually recreates you going to these top-ranked institutions without the hassle, while giving you the confidence and information needed that you have the right diagnosis and know the optimal treatment plan to pursue.
Also, personal guidance and attention are of paramount importance throughout each step of a second opinion process to ensure that your needs and questions are answered thoroughly. By choosing a second opinion provider that gives you that one-on-one attention and personal coaching from the start of the second opinion process thru completion, it gives you that added level of reassurance needed when facing a difficult diagnosis and crucial healthcare decisions.