Medix, which operates in over 90 countries with over 5 million insured customers, also states that 55% of its patients were spared from unnecessary medical procedures after seeking alternative medical opinions, while 43% were offered a treatment alternative, and 1 in 5 patients received a change in medical diagnosis.
This is corroborated in various studies worldwide, such as one study by Mayo Clinic researchers in 2017. The study revealed that as many as 88% of patients who get a second opinion receive a new or refined diagnosis – changing their care plan and potentially their lives. In another 2018 study published in the Annals of Surgical Oncology, it was found that among 70 patients referred for a second review at a National Cancer Institute-designated cancer centre in the US, 43% had a change in diagnosis.
Even in cases where the original diagnosis or treatment plan is verified by the second opinion, research has found that patients find the second opinion to be “helpful and reassuring in most cases”.
Given these findings, there is scope for a second medical opinion to lead to beneficial outcomes for patients.
At the very least, even if your second medical opinion draws similar conclusions and recommended treatment plans as your primary care team, it can give you greater confidence in the accuracy of your diagnosis, and reassure you that the treatment chosen is the right one, after hearing about (and rejecting) the alternative options.