Posted in Canada forum
A medical second opinion is defined as a patient’s act of requesting a review or evaluation of his health condition by another specialist or doctor after he receives a diagnosis and treatment plan from his previous physician. Getting second opinion often helps to verify or confirm the diagnosis and treatment of the previous doctor and also aids in finding out alternative treatment plans. In most cases, second opinions are sought when the first physician recommends a complex surgery or a risky procedure. Some other situations that induce the patient in getting a second opinion from a doctor is when he is not sure about the diagnosis or not wholly satisfied with the treatment plans offered by the primary physician or when the physician himself recommends a second opinion from a specialist.
Why Should You Consider a Second Medical Opinion?
Jonathan Schafer, MD MBA, orthopedic surgeon and Managing Director of the MyConsult® Online Medical Second Opinion program says that it makes sense to get a second opinion when you face a life-changing or life-threatening medical condition. It is pretty normal for the patient to feel confused when he faces a new medical diagnosis and choosing the right treatment option and coming to a decision can be very difficult when one has to navigate the complex heath care system. How can a patient be 100% sure that he has been diagnosed correctly and his doctor is making the right treatment choices? Well, the best way to clear out the doubts is getting second opinion – whether online or offline.
A Medical Second Opinion Helps the Patient In Several Ways:
The Patient Becomes a More Educated Healthcare Consumer – A second medical opinion gives the patient more knowledge and information about his health conditions and the treatment options available at his disposal. This helps in boosting the patient’s confidence so that he can make informed decisions.
It Helps to Rule out the Chances of Misdiagnosis – Review of the test and medical history and thorough interpretation of the results helps to rule out the chances of misdiagnosis.
Confirms the Suitability of the Recommended Treatment – It helps to confirm that the present treat is going on the correct path and ensures that it gives the desired results. It also brings out the alternative treatment options that may be less invasive or less complicated.
Provides Comparison of the Treatments Offered to the Patient – A second medical opinion suggests the most appropriate and optimal treatment plan so that the patient can make the best decisions for his health.
Advantages of Online Medical Second Opinion
Online Medical Second Opinion
It is important to seek a second opinion:
Be it online or in person. But when you consider a second opinion you would definitely consider renowned specialists. But the problem is the famous specialists are usually difficult to contact in person. This is where the advantages of online medical second opinion services come in to play.
Online medical second opinion can be customized as per specific needs – The interactive questionnaires provided by the online medical centers are tailored as per the specific needs of the doctors and patients. In addition, the facility of uploading images, exam reports and test results allows the specialist to have a thorough insight about the medical condition of the patient even without meeting him/her in person. This process can be better than personal medical interviews in many ways. One of the major problems of personal interviews is time. Doctors are pressed for time and they can devote only seven to ten minutes on a average to each patient. But in case of online second opinion, both the doctor and the patient has enough time to answer the questions in the questionnaires, analyze the answers and medical reports and finally decide on a treatment depending on all the information provided by the patient.
An Additional Pair of Eyes is Always Better:
The theory of double checking has been extremely successful in case of formal treatment where junior physicians and in-turns examine the patients on admittance and then discuss their findings with seniors and chief physician who decides about the treatment approach. A similar procedure is implemented in online second opinion and it is supported by modern modes of communication which makes it even more effective.
Specialized Service for Everyone:
Renowned specialists and physician are difficult to contact in person because their consultations are in high demand. It often takes months to get an appointment as well as receive the results of the second opinion. But online second opinion offers direct contact to renowned physicians and the entire procedure is much faster compared to offline second opinion.
No Location Boundaries:
The best thing about online medical second opinion services is that in this case location is not a boundary for the patients. The patient can request second opinions from renowned doctors even if they live far from major academic centers that cover a range of physician specialties. It is also useful for patients who are homebound.
Offline Medical Second Opinion:
Offline medical opinion or in-person medical second opinion refers to face-to-face appointment with a specialist or doctor and it is best suited for patients suffering from rare diseases where the diagnosis is often confusing or even frightening or when it is difficult to make decisions about the treatment options.
Finding a Doctor for In-person Second Opinion:
In most cases, in-person medical second opinion is recommended by the primary doctor himself. Some other possible sources to find a specialist for in-person medical second opinion are – local hospitals, medical clinics, medical associations, friends and family members. Once the patient locates a possible doctor for second opinion, he has to gather information about the doctor’s area of specialty and credentials.
Preparing For the Appointment:
The patient has to gather all relevant medical records and test results that he has to carry with him on the day of the appointment.
Advantages of In-person medical Second Opinion
Offline Medical Second Opinion
Take notes during consultation:
During in-person appointments the patient has the opoptunity to take down the information so that he can review them later.
Ask Questions and Clarify Doubts:
One of the biggest advantages of getting second opinion in person is that here the patient gets the chance to ask questions and clarify the doubts about the parts of the reports that he doesn’t understand.
Scenarios That Call for Medical Second Opinion
According to the National Patient Advocate Foundation, physicians should recommend second opinions when they face medical decisions that can potentially have a large impact on a patient’s life. A patient should not feel that he is being “unfaithful” to the current doctor if asking for another’s opinion.
According to physician Jerome Groopman, who has written a book on the importance of obtaining second opinion, patients should request a second physician’s input under the following circumstances:
If the treatment is very risky or toxic
When the diagnosis in not clear, the treatment is experimental or there is no established consensus or Food and Drug Administration-approved treatment.
If the patient is considering to participate in the trial for a new drug
If the patient or doctor is considering a new experimental approach or procedure that involves using experimental instruments or devices
Steps to Set Up Your Mind before Getting a Second Opinion
A patient may be referred for a second opinion by his doctor or he may seek it for himself. Whatever be the case, what should a patient do while getting a second opinion from a doctor?
Choose a Doctor Not a Hospital:
While choosing a doctor for second opinion, go by the reputation credibility and track record of the doctor rather than the reputation or name of the hospital. Large hospitals may have superior infrastructure but not the expert doctors in the specific field.
Have an Open Mind:
Don’t expect a contradictory recommendation when opting for second opinion. The diagnosis might confirm with that of the first doctor. Even if the doctors differ in their opinion, have clarity of thought and weigh the pros and cons of a treatment course before deciding to opt for it.
Keep Your Records In Order:
Whether you opt for online medical second opinion or visit a doctor for a second opinion, carry all your medical records and disclose the history of your case in detail because every detail counts.
A second opinion has the ability to supply your treatment team with the opportunity to consult with the leading specialist in the particular field. Dr. Schaffer says a second medical opinion is not just for diagnosis of life-threatening diseases. Getting a second opinion for conditions that affect your quality of life ensures that the condition has been diagnosed appropriately and that you are receiving optimal treatment. Last but not the least, a second opinion provides you reassurance, peace of mind and confidence that you are making the right choice for your health.
So, where can you get a second opinion for yourself or your loved ones? Bestdoctor.com is a trustworthy online platform where you can get online medical second opinion from top specialists which will help you to make an informed decision.
posted by in Canada forum
Thanks for sharing this informative article.