Earlier this week, the “Chicago Tribune” ran an informative healthcare feature that discussed the truth about second opinions in patient care.
Interestingly, many patients refrain from requesting second opinions, fearing they might insult primary care physicians. However, a study had found the opposite to be true; most physician service professionals encourage them.
Below are some facts about second opinions, as noted in a section of the article called ‘Five things to know about second opinions.’ It provides primary care physicians, hospital physicians, outsourced physicians as well as patients some valuable insight on this matter.
1. Second opinions are not as common as people think. “A 2010 poll showed that 70 percent of Americans don’t feel compelled to seek a second opinion or do additional research, despite the abundance of medical information at people’s fingertips. Furthermore, the confidence factor cuts across patients’ educational levels,” according to the “Chicago Tribune.”
2. Physicians normally do not get offended when patients request second opinions. “If you have a doctor who would be offended by a second opinion, he or she is probably not the right doctor for you,” said Dr. Gregory Abel, a specialist from Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.
3. Patients should discuss what matters to them with their physicians. The article stated that “in a study published in Health Expectations in 2010, investigators asked a group of patients and providers to rate facts and goals around treatment choices for early-stage breast cancer and found several areas of disagreement.” When patients have questions, physicians can provide answers.
4. Patients do not need to conceal the first opinion, as found in the results of a study. Results also concluded that “physicians, ethicists and patient advocates recommend erring on the side of open communication.”
5. Prior to second opinion appointments, patients should contact that provider’s office to find out whether the second opinion physician needs anything from the diagnosing physician.
In conclusion, requesting second opinions should not make patients feel awkward; most physicians just want the people they treat to do what makes them feel comfortable.