Life changing and life-threatening diagnoses can put anyone in a state of stress and make decision-making more difficult. In this case patients are advised to ask for consultation from another medical expert. This practice was named second opinion – seeking knowledge and advice of more than one doctor.
Second opinion became rather widespread as a service for patients who want to get a better understanding of their conditions and treatment options. However, there is not so much discussion of how second opinion can help doctors improve quality of diagnostics and treatment.
Second opinion as a medical practice has several benefits:
- It educates patients and equips them with knowledge for informed decision-making;
- It confirms diagnoses or makes them more precise;
- It reviews treatment plans and provides alternatives;
- It provides access to medical expertise of other clinicians;
- It brings peace of mind to patients.
Many patients don’t feel comfortable seeking second opinion but medical community highly recommends that patients reach out to other specialists. Those patients who face challenges in visiting other doctors can use digital technologies to ask for second opinion. In some countries it became a popular service and there is a number of platforms that connect patients with doctors.
Digital is the best solution to connect health professionals to health professionals that look for second opinion and are eager to share their knowledge. Digital solutions provide access to international medical expertise and can foster professional experience exchange and discussion across geographical borders.
Second opinion for doctors presents opportunities for patients as well. Confirming opinion from an expert during a patient’s visit to their clinician allows patients receive information directly from all doctors involved in a patient’s case. It minimizes misinterpretations and helps patients and their healthcare providers choose the right approach to treatment and illness management.