Getting a Second Opinion
As a patient, you have a right to get a second opinion at any time. A second opinion is when another physician, usually a specialist, other than your regular physician, examines you and offers their opinion on your diagnosis.
Why get a second opinion?
While physicians are trained similarly, they develop their own style and expertise based on their experiences and interests.
Getting a second opinion offers a fresh perspective from a physician who may be able to provide you with more or different information on your diagnosis and treatment options. This information can help you make a more informed decision about your health care.
Studies have shown that 30% of patients who sought second opinions for elective surgery and 18% of those who were required to obtain a second opinion by their insurance company found that they received two different opinions.
If the two opinions are different, you may want to talk to your first doctor or seek a third opinion. In the end, you will be a more informed patient and feel more confident in your care.
How to Ask for A Second Opinion
Asking for a second opinion is a common request, and a physician who is interested in your health will have no objections to this request. In fact, your physician should assist you with medical record gathering and may help to set up the appointment for you.
Tell the physician that you appreciate their time and input and state that you would like to get a second opinion because of the seriousness of the situation. Ask if they would be willing to send a summary letter of the findings and treatment plan to the physician you have chosen to render a second opinion. Getting a second opinion does not mean that you can’t work with your first physician, nor does it mean you are obligated to stay with the second physician.
Do I Have Time for a Second Opinion?
Ask your physician if you have time to seek another opinion and if there are any consequences to delaying treatment while exploring your options. Most patients are fearful that the time they spend securing a second opinion will have a negative effect on their prognosis. When you can get a second opinion, it can help you make the best decision possible about your care. A ConnectCare3 Nurse Navigator can assist you in finding second opinion options.
Will My Insurance Cover a Second Opinion?
Whether or not your insurance will pay for a second opinion is a common question. This depends on your individual medical benefits plan.
Preparing for a Second Opinion
Below are some general guidelines to prepare for your second opinion appointment:
- Gather your medical records
- Contact the second opinion office a few days before to confirm your appointment
- Prepare a list of questions to ask
- Ask a friend or relative to come along to your appointment to take notes and assist with asking questions
Remember that there are instances when a visit isn’t needed, and a physician just has to review your medical records and test results.
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