Health issues can be complicated. Sometimes, there may be several courses of action you could take on your way to better health. Surgery, experimental treatment, expensive tests—which should you choose? When there are tough choices to make, it can help to get a second opinion.
To get the name of a second health care professional, you can ask your doctor for the name of another expert. It can be beneficial if the second doctor works in a completely different institution. If you’re not comfortable asking your doctor for a name, you can ask your health insurer; WPS makes it easy with our Find a Doctor tool. It’s also a good idea to check with your health plan and make sure a second opinion is covered. Some plans, like HMOs, may also require a referral from your primary care physician.
Once you’ve got the name, schedule your appointment. Make sure that you have enough time to get your medical records to the new doctor prior to your visit, however. It’s smart to have your primary doctor send his/her report to the second doctor and to have the second doctor forward your new results to your primary doctor to keep your medical records all in one place. It keeps everyone in the loop about your health and can help improve your experience.
You should discuss the second opinion results with your primary doctor. The two doctors may agree. If this is the case, your path becomes clearer. In certain cases, the second physician may propose a different treatment plan. There are various factors, such as experience, technology, and others, that may lead to this difference in opinion. A collaborative approach with your primary care doctor may help you decide on the best proposed options and treatment plans. Ultimately, the decision is yours and it is important that you understand the various options presented.