If you or a loved one has received a difficult medical diagnosis, you could be feeling confused and overwhelmed. A second opinion from another doctor or specialist could help in many ways.
What is a second opinion?
A second opinion is when you ask another doctor to review your diagnosis or treatment plan. The doctor or specialist will review your medical history, including any relevant imaging and test results, and share their opinion of the diagnosis or treatment plan.
For many people, a second opinion provides peace of mind and reduces uncertainty. The second opinion can also improve the accuracy of the diagnosis and effectiveness of the treatment plan.
Second opinions are common. Most doctors are supportive of their patients seeking an opinion from another expert or specialist. Don’t worry about hurting the feelings of your doctor by seeking a second opinion–it is a typical practice, especially for new or complex medical conditions.
Why should I get a second opinion?
In addition to peace of mind, there are many reasons you should consider getting a second opinion:
- You want to confirm a diagnosis
- Your condition is complicated or life-threatening
- Your treatment plan is confusing
- You want to look into new treatment plans, like clinical trials
- You are not responding to your current treatment plan
- Your doctor does not specialize in your condition
A serious medical problem can be overwhelming. Getting a second opinion can help remove some of that uncertainty for both you and your circle of supporters.
When should I get a second opinion?
Second opinions are valuable for many diagnoses. Examples include:
- Musculoskeletal (i.e. problems with bones or ligaments, like your back)
- Rheumatology (i.e. arthritis, tendon issues, and muscle injuries)
- Dermatology (i.e. issues with the skin)
- Neurology (i.e. disorders that affect the brain, spinal cord, and nervous system)
- Gastroenterology (i.e. issues with esophagus, stomach, small intestine, colon and rectum, pancreas, gallbladder, bile ducts, and liver)
- Endocrinology (i.e. diagnosis like diabetes mellitus type 1 and type 2, thyroid disorders, hypothyroidism, and hyperthyroidism)
This is not a complete list. If you have received a medical diagnosis or treatment plan and think you’re interested in a second opinion, Included Health can help.
How can Included Health help with a second opinion?
Thanks to your employer or health plan, Included Health will take the lead in providing you with an expert second opinion. Our care team will collect all of your medical history and records so you don’t have to do that work. Then, we’ll select a doctor or specialist from our national network of top experts who will review your case and provide a thorough second opinion.
Throughout this process, we will keep you informed of the timing and progress of your case, and are glad to answer any questions along the way.
Second opinions can save lives. If you are an Included Health member, get started today.
Grand Rounds is Now Included Health
Included Health is a new kind of healthcare company, delivering integrated virtual care and navigation. We offer our members care guidance, advocacy, and access to personalized virtual and in-person care for everyday and urgent care, primary care, behavioral health, chronic and specialty care. It’s all included.
Caitlin O’Brien-Rice is a healthcare marketer with an affinity for writing. She is passionate about the mission of Included Health and making a positive impact on members.