In this article, I have listed a few reasons you should get a second opinion about your condition.
Googling and YouTubing Symptoms:
Let’s face it, most of us Google our symptoms, watch countless YouTube videos, and try to self-diagnose our diseases. There is nothing wrong with it until you give it the status of an actual diagnosis.
We can’t blame ourselves for this behavior. Google has a significant importance in our lives. We use Google to get from one point to another, to control our phones (unless you are an Apple fan, but you get the point). With all these strong associations with Google, it’s natural to trust unstructured and general search results of our conditions without ever validating them with a qualified physician. Often, those search results lead to unnecessary anxiety and depression, which pulls you into a whirlpool of psychological issues. We can’t help ourselves and will continue to try to self-diagnose through online searches. Instead, we should be contacting a physician when we feel very strongly about our opinions and are contemplating our next steps.
Misdiagnoses and Errors:
Believe it or not, misdiagnoses are the third leading cause of death in the US. You can check out the facts here. The majority of these can be easily avoided if patients educated themselves about their conditions and possible treatment options. This is where a second opinion service makes a difference. That service can not only guide you in the right direction but also act as your advocate in finding the best outcome for you and your loved ones. All diagnoses are very subjective and mostly depend on the knowledge and expertise of the physician. The diagnosis may not be wrong, but there may be another better solution for it. For example, treatment options for prostate cancer can include active surveillance, surgery, or radiation. Breast cancer treatment options comprise of lumpectomy or mastectomy. People who suffer from chronic back pain may have their choice of physical therapy, lifestyle modifications, like losing weight, and medications to reduce pain and the chance of surgery.
It is possible that you are experiencing something that your primary care physician may not figure out. Don’t worry, medicine is very vast and it’s hard to keep up with every latest discovery. Our bodies and genetics are different, there could be some rare mutation of a virus not common. This is the ideal time you should seek the opinion of other physicians. One excellent book relating to this matter is Diagnosis, by Dr. Lisa Sanders. Dr. Sanders collaborated with NY Times and produced a Netflix series with the same name where she demonstrates the power of crowd diagnosis. However, that approach is hard to implement, unless you have an established network of qualified and vetted people to comment on your condition.
In the US, the average cost of seeing a family physician for a minor issue is around $70. If you are lucky enough to have insurance, then your copay can range from $15–25. This cost does not include all procedures done on a patient. If you see a specialist, this cost can quickly go into several hundred dollars. With that high cost, it is difficult to talk to several doctors for a second opinion.
Even if you overcome the cost of multiple second opinions, you’re limited to the doctors in the area you live in. What if you think a better doctor in a different state can give you better advice?
Online Second Opinions:
We are seeing a gradual trend in increasing demand for seeking second opinions online as several companies are providing these services. We at Mednosis have a different but practical approach for an online second opinion service, where patients can live chat with real doctors of their choice with complete privacy and anonymity. The cost of a second opinion can range from $20 to $100, depending on the specialty of a physician.
At Mednosis, we understand that online consultations bring their own challenges. We acknowledge that it is not for everyone and one may not use it all the time. No one can deny the importance of an in-person visit. But if the purpose of visit is just to talk and get physician’s opinion then it can be done online too without the restrictions of location and without paying hundreds of dollars.
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