When patients receive life-altering diagnoses, face aggressive treatments, or have misgivings about a provider’s conclusions, they may wonder if they should seek a second opinion. A recent study by Mayo Clinic researchers suggests that patients who do get second opinions frequently end up with different diagnoses. Of 286 cases referred by primary care practices to specialists, 21 percent resulted in distinctly different diagnoses. In 66 percent of the cases, the diagnoses were better defined or refined. Yet, many patients may be reluctant to ask for another physician to review their cases. In this guest post, Charlene Rothkopf, a founding members of the Johns Hopkins Hospital Patient and Family Advisory Council, reflected on her personal experience pursuing a second opinion, examines some of the reasons that impede others from doing so, and suggests how physicians might help remove the barriers.

This post is from Dr. Peter Pronovost, Senior Vice President for Patient Safety and Quality at Johns Hopkins Medicine and Co-Founder of Doctella. This is an excerpt reposted from his blog, Voices for Safer Care. Please visit his website to read the full article.