Seeking a Second Medical Opinion

Reviewed Jan 24, 2019

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Summary

A visit with a specialist may be necessary for a diagnosis, or to increase a person’s comfort level with an existing diagnosis and treatment plan prescribed by another doctor.

Often, a visit with a specialist is needed for a diagnosis, or to add to your comfort with an existing diagnosis and care plan set by some other doctor.

Think about getting a second opinion when or if:

  • Your primary doctor suggests one. He may feel that meeting with a specialist is needed to diagnose or make a care plan.
  • Your insurance company calls for one. Many say you need a second opinion before nonemergency surgery.
  • Diagnosis from your regular doctor is unsure
  • Your doctor wants you to have surgery
  • A costly, complex, risky, or new procedure is recommended
  • A rare, deadly, or disabling issue is diagnosed
  • The diagnosis and care plan is not clear
  • Your current care plan is not working
  • You are not happy with your current care

Where to get another opinion

  • Call your insurance provider or visit their website for a list of specialists.
  • Ask your primary doctor for a referral.
  • Reach out to a group linked to your illness. The group can give you names of experts in your area who are experts in the issue.
  • If you know any doctors or nurses personally, ask them for suggestions.

After making an appointment, have your medical records sent to the new doctor, or pick them up and take them to the visit. Bring questions to your visit that you want to ask.

Weighing the info

If the second opinion differs from the first, ask the doctors to tell how they got their diagnoses. Ask about the studies on which the suggestions are based, the test results they looked at, and their reasoning. One doctor may be more up to date than the other.

It is also likely that there is no one best care plan, and different but equally helpful treatments might be given.

Once you have all the facts, go to your primary doctor and talk about the views. If each doctor gives a different opinion, a third one may be called for.

By Amy Daugherty
Source: National Institute on Aging; Yale-New Haven Hospital; Working With Your Doctor: Getting the Healthcare You Deserve by Nancy Keene. O’Reilly & Associates Inc., 1998.

Summary

A visit with a specialist may be necessary for a diagnosis, or to increase a person’s comfort level with an existing diagnosis and treatment plan prescribed by another doctor.

Often, a visit with a specialist is needed for a diagnosis, or to add to your comfort with an existing diagnosis and care plan set by some other doctor.

Think about getting a second opinion when or if:

  • Your primary doctor suggests one. He may feel that meeting with a specialist is needed to diagnose or make a care plan.
  • Your insurance company calls for one. Many say you need a second opinion before nonemergency surgery.
  • Diagnosis from your regular doctor is unsure
  • Your doctor wants you to have surgery
  • A costly, complex, risky, or new procedure is recommended
  • A rare, deadly, or disabling issue is diagnosed
  • The diagnosis and care plan is not clear
  • Your current care plan is not working
  • You are not happy with your current care

Where to get another opinion

  • Call your insurance provider or visit their website for a list of specialists.
  • Ask your primary doctor for a referral.
  • Reach out to a group linked to your illness. The group can give you names of experts in your area who are experts in the issue.
  • If you know any doctors or nurses personally, ask them for suggestions.

After making an appointment, have your medical records sent to the new doctor, or pick them up and take them to the visit. Bring questions to your visit that you want to ask.

Weighing the info

If the second opinion differs from the first, ask the doctors to tell how they got their diagnoses. Ask about the studies on which the suggestions are based, the test results they looked at, and their reasoning. One doctor may be more up to date than the other.

It is also likely that there is no one best care plan, and different but equally helpful treatments might be given.

Once you have all the facts, go to your primary doctor and talk about the views. If each doctor gives a different opinion, a third one may be called for.

By Amy Daugherty
Source: National Institute on Aging; Yale-New Haven Hospital; Working With Your Doctor: Getting the Healthcare You Deserve by Nancy Keene. O’Reilly & Associates Inc., 1998.

Summary

A visit with a specialist may be necessary for a diagnosis, or to increase a person’s comfort level with an existing diagnosis and treatment plan prescribed by another doctor.

Often, a visit with a specialist is needed for a diagnosis, or to add to your comfort with an existing diagnosis and care plan set by some other doctor.

Think about getting a second opinion when or if:

  • Your primary doctor suggests one. He may feel that meeting with a specialist is needed to diagnose or make a care plan.
  • Your insurance company calls for one. Many say you need a second opinion before nonemergency surgery.
  • Diagnosis from your regular doctor is unsure
  • Your doctor wants you to have surgery
  • A costly, complex, risky, or new procedure is recommended
  • A rare, deadly, or disabling issue is diagnosed
  • The diagnosis and care plan is not clear
  • Your current care plan is not working
  • You are not happy with your current care

Where to get another opinion

  • Call your insurance provider or visit their website for a list of specialists.
  • Ask your primary doctor for a referral.
  • Reach out to a group linked to your illness. The group can give you names of experts in your area who are experts in the issue.
  • If you know any doctors or nurses personally, ask them for suggestions.

After making an appointment, have your medical records sent to the new doctor, or pick them up and take them to the visit. Bring questions to your visit that you want to ask.

Weighing the info

If the second opinion differs from the first, ask the doctors to tell how they got their diagnoses. Ask about the studies on which the suggestions are based, the test results they looked at, and their reasoning. One doctor may be more up to date than the other.

It is also likely that there is no one best care plan, and different but equally helpful treatments might be given.

Once you have all the facts, go to your primary doctor and talk about the views. If each doctor gives a different opinion, a third one may be called for.

By Amy Daugherty
Source: National Institute on Aging; Yale-New Haven Hospital; Working With Your Doctor: Getting the Healthcare You Deserve by Nancy Keene. O’Reilly & Associates Inc., 1998.

The information provided on the Achieve Solutions site, including, but not limited to, articles, assessments, and other general information, is for informational purposes only and should not be treated as medical, health care, psychiatric, psychological, or behavioral health care advice. Nothing contained on the Achieve Solutions site is intended to be used for medical diagnosis or treatment or as a substitute for consultation with a qualified health care professional. Please direct questions regarding the operation of the Achieve Solutions site to Web Feedback. If you have concerns about your health, please contact your health care provider.  ©2019 Beacon Health Options, Inc.

 

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