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Referrals often result in new diagnosis

When you visit your provider in Massachusetts because of troubling symptoms, he or she may determine a treatment plan for you. However, many doctors, physician assistants and nurse practitioners decide to refer their patients to a specialist. At Donovan O’Connor & Dodig, LLP, our team has advised many clients who discovered that the first opinion was not the one that resulted in the correct level of care.

The Mayo Clinic provides clinical services and performs research to advance the field of medicine. As you may have discovered, organizations such as this one often have patients referred to them for a second opinion. One recent study conducted by that institution involved a review of cases that were referred to its providers. Each of the patients had received a diagnosis from their original doctor, PA or NP which was then confirmed, refined or changed by the Mayo Clinic’s providers who accepted the referral.

In nearly 88 percent of the cases included, researchers discovered that the second opinion resulted in some level of change to the first diagnosis. Of all the referrals in the study, one in five patients had received a first diagnosis that was completely incorrect, while 12 percent were not changed at all by the new provider. The rest of the patients—66 percent of the cases reviewed—had their diagnoses updated or refined by the second physician.

These results indicated that most patients benefitted from the second opinion, even when the first was merely incomplete and not incorrect. Because of this, researchers suggest that you may want to seek a second opinion when possible. More information about doctor errors is available on  our web page.

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