If you notice that you're experiencing a new symptom, do you immediately search the internet and try to diagnose yourself? It makes sense to check trusted medical websites for general information, but it's important to seek expert advice on health issues — especially when you need a second opinion.
Wealthy families and successful businesses typically have teams of trusted advisors, including wealth managers, consultants, and attorneys, to help plan and manage their finances. They aren't asking Google "How do I manage my family fortune?" So, why is it that when a health issue presents itself, the internet is used as a primary resource?
Just like your wealth, your health is a valuable asset worth protecting. If you've received a new diagnosis or a doctor recommends surgery, you may be uncertain how to proceed. You don’t have to figure it out on your own. Before you commit to a treatment option, make an appointment for a second opinion.
Second opinions make a difference. A Mayo Clinic study examined the records of 286 patients who were referred by their primary care provider for a second opinion. The research team found that in 21 percent of the cases, the diagnosis was completely changed, and 66 percent of patients received a new or refined diagnosis.
How to Get a Second Opinion
- Make an appointment with a specialist. For the most accurate second opinion, go to a doctor who focuses on that particular area of care. Here’s how to get the most out of your visit. If the specialist is not located in your area, it may be worth traveling to see them. A health advisor can connect you with top doctors and help you arrange for care back at home.
- Visit your doctor in person if possible. While many doctors now offer virtual appointments, a virtual second opinion may not be as effective as an in-person consultation.
- Make sure the doctor providing the second opinion has access to your health records. It's critical for them to have detailed information on your health. Don't feel uncomfortable or guilty about asking your primary care doctor or other doctors to share this information. Second opinions are an important part of the treatment process.
- Ask questions. If you're not sure what to do next or you need help translating a doctor's medical jargon into plain English, reach out to an expert health advisor.
The healthcare system is complex, and it's essential to make the right treatment decisions in a timely manner. A health advisor can provide valuable guidance and support throughout this process.