Mayo clinic researchers published recent research on April 4, 2017 in the Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice. They concluded in their study group of 286 patients, that 88% of patients who seek a second opinion leave with a refined or new diagnosis. In this study, 66% received a redefined diagnosis while 21% were diagnosed with something completely different. This illustrates that another set of eyes looking at a patient and problem is a good idea.
A wrong diagnosis can lead to stress, delayed treatment, complications, and added expense. The National Academy of Medicine has concluded that a correct diagnosis is an important component in determining what makes up quality of care. With more and more problems in access to care, this will be a growing problem.
John recently related an experience that illustrates this. He went to a walk-in clinic with pain in his big toe. The provider diagnosed gout. John is a large man and could not see the underside of his large toe. He received medicine for gout because of the swelling. He did not get better. He sought a second opinion and a splinter was found embedded in the underside of his toe. I wish this were an isolated case, but it is not. This study shows that another set of eyes is a good idea.
Sometimes it takes time to make a correct diagnosis. Observing a patient over time, collecting data, and better defining symptoms are tools that our fast paced society does not value as much as in the past. With the amount of stress related symptoms in our world, making a correct diagnosis is even more challenging.
I want to encourage all to have another opinion if you are not responding to a treatment plan. Try to help your provider by looking for specifics that may help. Does my chest pain happen when I am upset or every time I walk up a hill? Is the cough happening when I am walking around a blooming bush or associated with a fever?
Also do not forget that there is a Great Physician that has His eyes on you and wants to help. Do not forget to ask Him to lead you in health-care decisions. He will always keep His eyes on you.