the ‘second opinions’ industry. Currently, many people have an almost religious trust in their doctor’s recommendation. “A 2010 Gallup poll found that 70% of Americans are so respectful of their doctor’s advice that they never get a second opinion or do additional research.” This finding is despite the fact that medical errors may cost the U.S. $20 billion per year.
The aversion to second opinions, however, is changing. The Wall Street Journal reports:
So ConsultingMD, a new second-opinion firm, offers access to otherwise unreachable, top-class doctors. It signs up medical luminaries by invitation only, making them remotely available to individuals and corporate clients. “Now, a doctor at home on a weekend,” Dr. Hofmann says, “can lend his expertise and be a ‘hero’ to a patient in San Diego, with a nearly real-time turnaround.” Say 72 hours, not two months…
In an estimated 60% of cases, an alternate treatment is recommended—often one that’s more conservative and cheaper. At ConsultingMD, 6 out of 10 cases reviewed by doctors had been misdiagnosed or mistreated. At the Elizabeth Wende Breast Clinic in New York state, second opinions led to the cancellation of 73% of 1,053 surgeries in favor of less-invasive options.
The Wall Street Journal calls the second opinions business a “soon-to-boom business.”
That’s a great concept, especially taking into account that according to a recent study 40% of patients’ problems are being misdiagnosed by doctors (you give even higher statistics) and only on the second or even third visit, it gets corrected. I especially liked the fact that while using second opinion firm, in 60% of cases the alternative treatment was all that did the job.