Why Should You Ask for a Second Opinion on Radiology Studies?

Medical Imaging is playing an increasingly essential role in the evaluation of patients. While the technology used to create medical images is improving, medical errors can still occur. Second-opinion consultation is widely recommended to improve the accuracy of diagnosis and to improve patient care.

Reducing the Risk of Medical Errors

The primary reason for a second opinion is to reduce the risk of medical errors by allowing another specialist or a team to evaluate the radiology scan. Each year, tens of thousands of patients die due to medical mistakes.

Several studies have examined the value of a second opinion for radiology studies. The findings always point to an increase in accurate diagnoses when the scans are reviewed by a second party.

The additional review may help detect minor or major errors from the initial diagnosis. Most radiologic errors occur due to under-reading of the radiology exam images. Errors may also result from doctors failing to extensively examine the anatomy.
Second opinions may also help reduce the risk of misdiagnosis. This prevents the chances of unnecessary medical procedures and other potential errors.

Providing the Best Treatment Possible

A second opinion not only helps prevent medical mistakes; it allows doctors to determine the best possible treatment for each patient. Whether the second party confirms the initial diagnosis or provides additional recommendations, doctors receive an outside perspective that is beneficial for creating a quality treatment plan.

Requesting a Second Opinion Is a Quick Process

A decade ago, if a doctor or a patient wanted a second opinion, the patient’s medical records would need to be sent or delivered to another facility. The process may take several days, depending on the distance between the healthcare facilities and the availability of the staff at the second location.

With online records, digital images, and other advances in patient data archiving, it is easier for doctors and patients to request a second opinion. In fact, using the latest technology, like web-based PACS and Radiology Information System, doctors in different facilities can even view the same data simultaneously.

The process of receiving another opinion from a qualified healthcare professional is faster and more convenient than in the past. This increases the access and availability of second opinions for all types of situations.

Advantages of a Second Opinion for the Patients

While second opinions help doctors provide better care, patients also benefit personally from this additional review. Second-opinion consultants specialize in reviewing radiology scans and discussing their results with patients in a way that is easy to understand.

Patients may prefer having a second set of eyes focusing on their care. Even when the consultant verifies the initial diagnosis, the patient may feel more comfortable knowing that their health is being properly assessed. This is an extra level of reassurance that may put patients fears at ease.

Second opinions can be requested by doctors, patients, or insurance providers. Second-opinion consultation reduces the risk of medical errors, misdiagnosis, and unnecessary procedures. It is an extra step that helps ensure that patients receive the best care and proper diagnosis. Whenever possible, consider getting a second opinion for all types of radiology scans.

Written by Mike George – VP Marketing