Every day, Florida residents are diagnosed with illnesses. Some of these are as simple as the common cold while others can be devastating and life-threatening, such as a cancer diagnosis. While patients often rely on their doctors to provide an accurate diagnosis and create the best possible treatment plan, they may also receive extra peace of mind when they request a second opinion.
According to the American Cancer Society, patients are entitled to as many opinions as they want. Common reasons people request a second or third consult with a different doctor include the following:
- The doctor seems unsure what the problem is
- The patient wants to know every possible treatment option
- The patient has an unusual or rare diagnosis
- The current doctor is not a specialist in the diagnosed condition
- The patient is simply not comfortable with the doctor
Insurance company Cigna encourages patients to follow several steps before getting another opinion. First, is the new doctor covered under their insurance? Certain surgeries require that another doctor consult with the original doctor before the procedure is covered by insurance. Second, the patient should schedule with the new doctor, but provide enough time for medical records to be transferred over. The first opinion should be sent along with them. Third, any new information received should be sent back to the original doctor so that the medical records are complete and up to date.
Once patients receive a second opinion, they should schedule an appointment with the first doctor to discuss it. They should question both doctors about how they decided on the preferred treatment plan and how they interpreted any test results. Patients should read carefully over any professional guidelines or research studies about a specific condition, and remember that ultimately, the decisions about their treatment are up to them.