Second Opinion

Be sure about your diagnosis and options
When you’re making important health decisions, it’s always recommended to get medical opinions from more than one doctor. MediFind helps you find experts who are most likely to give you a quality second opinion.
Be sure about your diagnosis and options
When you’re making important health decisions, it’s always recommended to get medical opinions from more than one doctor. MediFind helps you find experts who are most likely to give you a quality second opinion.

Getting a Second Opinion on your Diagnosis

Our Second Opinion Finder takes just a few moments to complete. You will be asked to enter the name of your doctor, the health condition with which you've been diagnosed, and your location. Your information will then be carefully analyzed in order to provide a comprehensive list of doctors you may want to consider when seeking a second opinion.

What is a second opinion?

A second opinion is when you seek the advice of another doctor after you’ve received a diagnosis or treatment recommendation from your original doctor. The first doctor you see is sometimes called the “first opinion,” making the next doctor you see a “second opinion.” Some people, especially those with serious diagnoses, consult with multiple doctors. This can include “third opinions,” “fourth opinions,” and so on.

Whether your “first opinion” and “second opinion” agree or not, it’s important to evaluate all the options available to you. This helps ensure you’re making the most informed health decisions possible.

Why is it important to get a second opinion?

Many people think that requesting a second opinion will offend their doctor. In fact, second opinions are not only commonplace, but recommended, even if you love your doctor. This is because experts often have different views on the best treatment path, and consulting with multiple experts can help ensure you’re making the most informed health decisions possible.

The case for getting a second opinion is well-supported in research. A 2017 study by the Mayo Clinic found that nearly 90% of patients seeking a second opinion receive a new or modified diagnosis. Further, 21% of people received a “distinctly different” diagnosis, meaning that 1 in 5 people were diagnosed completely incorrectly. Another study from Johns Hopkins concluded that medical errors are the third leading cause of death in the United States today.

Getting a second opinion is important no matter what health challenge you’re facing, but it’s especially critical in a few cases:

  • You’ve been diagnosed with a serious disease, such as cancer. A 2018 study of cancer patients found that a second review by a multidisciplinary tumor board changed the diagnosis for 43% of the patients in the study. Even experts who specialize in specific health conditions have a hard time staying up to date on all the latest advances. Consider the fact that it is estimated that the body of medical knowledge now doubles every 73 days. So it’s important that you consult with multiple doctors to find the best path forward for you.
  • You’ve been diagnosed with, or suspect you may have, a rare disease. There are nearly 7,000 known rare diseases, affecting between 263–446 million people globally at any given time (including 25-30 million Americans). This is about 1 in every 25 people, making rare diseases as a whole not so rare at all. Rare diseases are particularly difficult to diagnose. In fact, people living with a rare disease visit an average of 7.3 physicians before receiving an accurate diagnosis. The average length of time from symptom onset to accurate diagnosis with a rare disease is 4.8 years.
  • You’re making a major treatment decision. If you’re considering a treatment that is irreversible, invasive, or has long-term consequences, such as surgery, a second opinion is particularly important. While the recommended treatment may end up being the right decision for your health, you should take extra care to get a second opinion in this case.
  • You’re not sure about your diagnosis. Sometimes it’s difficult to diagnose the cause of your symptoms, so it’s important to see different experts with different points-of-view. You can also explore your symptoms using the MediFind Symptom Checker to identify health conditions to investigate further. This will help you set up an in-person appointment or a remote appointment for health care that works with your insurer, Medicare, or Medicaid plan.

How does the Second Opinion Finder work?

Our algorithms identify doctors who are experts in your condition, but who are likely to have different insights about your care options. These doctors are identified based on three key pieces of information:

  • Who are the top experts for a specific health condition? It’s not enough to simply see a specialist. MediFind identifies the doctors who are at the forefront for thousands of individual diseases.
  • How different are these experts’ profiles from the reference doctor (the original doctor you enter)? MediFind builds sophisticated profiles from many data sources that also tell us how “connected” doctors are to each other, whether through publications (such as BMJ Open and free PMC article content), training, or referral patterns.
  • Where are you located, and how far are you willing to travel? MediFind will identify doctors near you, and you can also filter your search radius to specify how far you’re willing to travel to seek care. This step can also, for example, help you find an oncology, radiology, or pathology clinic that you can contact to ensure they work with your insurance provider.

If you still need a “first opinion,” you can find a doctor by condition, specialty, or name here. If you’re not sure what condition to enter, use our Symptom Checker to narrow your search. Note that you shouldn’t use a second opinion during a medical emergency and you should seek immediate care.

To learn more about how MediFind works, including how we define expertise, including how we define expertise, explore our methodology.

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