As Best Doctors EMEAA reaches over 25,000 cases, we take a moment to reflect on what getting a second medical opinion really means for patients, their loved ones and their doctors.
Offering access to expert second medical opinions and advice for over 30 million people around the world and in more than 100 countries, Best Doctors understands what it means to be facing a medical condition. We know what questions can arise, the doubts that people struggle with. Yet while no two cases are the same, we have one thing in common: we all want to be sure.
When it comes to our health, being sure can mean different things:
- A definitive diagnosis for our symptoms
- Confirmation that we are following the right treatment plan
- Reassurance that we are in the best hands with our treating doctors
- Greater knowledge about our condition and what to expect
- Satisfaction that we have done everything we can for our health, or the health of a family member
No condition too minor
You don’t have to be critically ill to request a second opinion. In fact, many people request second opinions for chronic conditions, such as back pain, arthritis and headaches. At Best Doctors, second medical opinions span over 40 specialties and over 450 sub specialties, from cardiology to sports medicine to dermatology. In fact, orthopaedics consistently ranks as one of the most consulted Best Doctors specialties, with 17% of cases.
I don’t want to upset my doctor
When we hear the words “second opinion” many of us assume that such an opinion will necessarily go against the original opinion. Moreover, some people worry that their treating doctor might feel offended or upset that they are questioning his or her opinion.
The reality could not be further from the truth. The treating doctor and original findings are an integral part of the second opinion process, and should be active participants, every step of the way. 90% of Best Doctors members say they intend to share their second medical opinion expert report with their treating doctor.
A second opinion is not necessarily a different one
Will a second medical opinion always go against the original opinion? According to the latest available data, using Best Doctors has meant a change in diagnosis for 18% of EMEAA cases.
Yet for many, the value of a second opinion lies in the reinforcement of our doctor’s opinion and the resulting peace of mind that we have, knowing that we are in the very best hands and that no stone has been left unturned in our diagnosis or treatment.
A second medical opinion can also raise important questions about our treatment.
- Are you using the most effective medication?
- Should you consider changing the dosage or using it in combination with something else?
- Is your surgery really necessary?
82% of Best Doctors members used the service for help with deciding on treatment options, with 32% of cases leading to a change in treatment.
Second opinions are a natural part of life
We get a survey done before buying a house. We take our car to another garage for another quote. So when it comes to our health, and the health of our loved ones, why think twice about a second opinion?
If you or a loved one has doubts or questions about a medical condition or treatment, Best Doctors encourages you to talk to your financial advisor, insurer or employer about requesting a second medical opinion.
All data: Best Doctors Operations and Quality Management Cumulated EMEAA Member Utilisation Statistics, May 2015