Second opinions play an important role in patient care and are more common than you may think. Doctors understand that patients may seek a second opinion for a number of reasons, and they don’t take it personally, especially when the path forward for treatment isn’t 100% clear. Every medical provider has reasoning behind their approach, but not every condition is as simple to treat as a cut or cough. The more complex the condition, the more advantages a second opinion can bring, due to healthcare providers’ different experiences, diagnostic technology, specialities, and breadth of expertise.
When you attend a second opinion appointment, you typically feel more informed about your symptoms and the treatment options available. You’re able to ask better questions, talk about your symptoms with greater specificity, and request a different diagnostic approach (if applicable).
The whole point of a second opinion is to get you on the best path to recovery as soon as possible. That said, it’s important to take care of any emergency needs right away.
Get the Emergency Care You Need Immediately
Before considering any alternative treatments or second opinions, make sure to get the emergency care you need. Emergency care will ensure that:
- your vital signs are stable;
- your blood panel doesn’t reveal a major red flag;
- you have no concussion symptoms;
- your mobility is manageable;
- any open wounds are treated; and
- there are no signs of internal bleeding.
You’ll be referred to a specialist if your condition warrants further treatment. From there, you can take control over your medical care by vetting the types of providers that specialize in treating your injuries.
Your Frame of Mind Matters
When you’re trying to recover from injury, how you feel mentally can matter just as much as how you feel physically. If you trust the team behind your care, it can be a relief to your nervous system and therefore your immune system. Stress impacts your body’s ability to properly heal. If you’re up late at night or constantly stressing about your quality of care, your body will have a harder time executing the natural healing process.
Even if you’re comparing places that offer the same procedure, a different environment or different type of experience can matter. Perhaps a scheduling practice at one facility works better for you.
When you’re injured, the last thing you want is added pressure or inconvenience. You want your medical provider to give you as much relief as possible. If you feel as though the care you’re receiving is impacting your comfort, it’s absolutely within reason to consider a second opinion.
Specialists vs. Multidisciplinary Clinics
When getting a second opinion, keep in mind that a specialist is going to take a different approach to diagnostics and treatment than a multidisciplinary practice. A specialist will have a deeper, but more narrow, understanding of a specific area of medicine. A multidisciplinary practitioner will have a wider understanding of the body, and how certain conditions can feed into one another, but they may not have the equipment or expertise to diagnose or care for certain conditions.
If you decide to seek a second opinion, try to see a different type of provider. If your first opinion is from a specialist, get the second from a multidisciplinary practice, and vice versa. The experience of seeing both types could be valuable when you’re deciding whether to stick with your initial provider or go with the second opinion.
Confirmation Can Also Be a Significant Relief
Not every second opinion has to be the result of a poor initial experience. When it comes to your health, you can never be too certain that you’re taking the right approach. If all that comes from your second opinion is confirmation of your initial diagnosis and treatment plan, then you can move forward with confidence regardless of which provider you select.
Whether you’re in a serious car accident or experience a workplace injury or sports-related accident, you’ll want to get your body back to normal as soon as possible. Getting a second opinion needn’t delay your recovery, and it can be an important part of finding the treatment plan that’s right for your particular injuries.