Mayo Clinic researchers demonstrate value of second opinions
Key Excerpts from Article on Website of Mayo Clinic News Network
Posted: April 16th, 2017
Many patients come to Mayo Clinic for a second opinion or diagnosis confirmation before treatment for a complex condition. In a new study, Mayo Clinic reports that as many as 88 percent of those patients go home with a new or refined diagnosis changing their care plan and potentially their lives. Conversely, only 12 percent receive confirmation that the original diagnosis was complete and correct. When people are sick, they look to their doctor to find solutions. However, physicians dont always have the answers. Often ... the physician will recommend a second opinion. Other times, the patient will ask for one. This second opinion could lead to quicker access to lifesaving treatment or stopping unnecessary treatments. The [study's research] team compared the referring diagnosis to the final diagnosis to determine the level of consistency between the two. In 21 percent of the cases, the diagnosis was completely changed; and 66 percent of patients received a refined or redefined diagnosis. Effective ... treatment depends on the right diagnosis, says Dr. Naessens. Knowing that more than 1 out of every 5 referral patients may be completely [and] incorrectly diagnosed is troubling ─ not only because of the safety risks for these patients ... but also because of the patients we assume are not being referred at all. Insurers often limit access to care outside their network, effectively limiting referrals. Further, primary care providers may be more confident in their diagnostic expertise than warranted.
Note: Medical error kills an estimated 251,454 people in the US every year, making it the third leading cause of death in the US. And prescription drugs were reported to have caused 123,000 deaths and 800,000 adverse patient outcomes such as disability in the US in 2014 alone. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing health news articles from reliable major media sources.