By Best Doctors
study done by the Mayo Clinic has found nearly 9 out of 10 patients seeking a second opinion at Mayo go home with
a different diagnosis—completely changing treatment plans and prognoses for some patients.
The study, led by researcher James Naessens, Sc. D. and team, analyzed the records of 286 patients who went to the Mayo Clinic
for a second opinion. They found the Mayo Clinic doctors gave 21 percent of patients an entirely different diagnosis,
and another 66 percent of patients had their diagnoses refined.
This study isn’t the first of its kind to bring attention to major medical errors. In the last few years, diagnostic errors
have been brought into the spotlight in published studies. Johns Hopkins researchers reported they were the third leading
cause of the death in the U.S., and the National Academy of Medicine found nearly every person will experience at least
one diagnostic error.
The benefits of another look
Despite the advantages, second opinions can be daunting to many patients. Some of the common concerns people have about second
- They will offend their doctors
- It will take too long and delay treatment
- They can’t afford to see another doctor and pay to redo testing
- There isn’t another in-network doctor nearby
- They don’t know enough about their condition to doubt their doctors
However, as Mark L. Graber, M.D. a senior fellow at the research institute RTI International and founder of the Society to
Improve Diagnosis in Medicine, said in a Washington Post article, “Diagnosis is extremely hard. There are 10,000 diseases
and only 200 to 300 symptoms. Doctors are humans, and they make the same cognitive mistakes we all make. If you are given
a serious diagnosis, or you’re not responding the way you should [to medication], a second opinion is a very good idea.
Fresh eyes catch mistakes.”
A different kind of second opinion
Best Doctors is the solution that makes the second opinion process easy and convenient for all of our members, without sacrificing
clinical quality. As the Best Doctors service is provided by employers, insurers and other organizations, there are no
costs to members. Additionally, all case reviews are confidentially done over the phone and internet, so members don’t
have to travel.
We draw on over 50,000 expert physicians globally in 450 specialties and subspecialties, allowing us to match members with
leading experts in their conditions for an in-depth medical review of the case. Each member is also matched to a Best
Doctors clinician, who completes a thorough intake, coordinates records collection, prepares a clinical summary for the
expert and supports the member throughout the review.
With our expert second opinion service, we ensure members have the right diagnosis and the right treatment, so they have
the peace of mind they deserve when going through a medical challenge.