How Often Are Second Opinions Different?

man looking at laptop while learning about how often second opinions are different

You trust your doctor and your care team, but something is telling you to seek a second opinion. Maybe it’s because you are unsure about your diagnosis or treatment plan, or maybe it’s just a gut feeling. Regardless of the reason, seeking a second opinion is an important step in taking control of your health and ensuring that you receive the best care possible. How often are second opinions different? While every patient’s case is different, the statistics may surprise you.

The Clinic by Cleveland Clinic’s expert second opinions lead to a diagnosis change in 28% of cases. This means that for almost one-third of patients, their initial diagnosis was either incorrect or incomplete. And when it comes to treatment plans, 72% are modified after a second opinion. This shows that even if the initial diagnosis is correct, there may be room for improvement in the recommended course of action.

Seeking a second opinion can change the trajectory of your health. We’ve made it easy to sign up and get started—if you’re considering a second opinion, our team at The Clinic by Cleveland Clinic is ready to help.

How Often Are Second Opinions Different?

The statistics mentioned above may seem surprising, but they highlight the importance of second opinions. It’s crucial to understand that every individual’s case is unique and can benefit from another perspective. So why is getting a second opinion important?

First, it provides you with more information about your condition and potential treatment options. Having access to different medical opinions can give you a more comprehensive understanding of your health and allow you to make an informed decision about your care. Secondly, it can offer reassurance that the original diagnosis and treatment plan are the best course of action for your specific case.

But what happens when there is a difference in second opinion? It may seem overwhelming at first, but it’s important to remember that this is not uncommon and can be beneficial. A different perspective may uncover new information or provide alternative treatment options that were not previously considered. This can lead to a better outcome for your health in the long run.

Diagnostic Changes by the Numbers

The 28% of cases where a diagnosis change occurred is a significant number, and it’s important to understand what this means for patients. It can mean the difference between receiving appropriate treatment or potentially undergoing unnecessary treatments that could cause harm. For example, if a patient is mistakenly diagnosed with cancer and begins aggressive treatment, they may experience harmful side effects without addressing their actual condition.

Treatment Plan Modifications

The statistic that 72% of treatment plans are modified after a second opinion also sheds light on the importance of seeking additional medical perspectives. It can be easy to assume that the initial recommended treatment plan is the best and only option, but this may not always be the case. Treatment plan modifications can include changes in medication, surgery options, or alternative therapies.

How to Get Started

Getting started with a second opinion is easier than you may think. The Clinic by Cleveland Clinic offers virtual second opinions through our secure online platform, allowing you to connect with one of our expert physicians from the comfort of your own home. After you register through our secure portal, you’ll meet your nurse care manager and get your second opinion process started:

  • You are personally matched to the Cleveland Clinic expert best suited to review your particular case.
  • The Clinic team does the behind-the-scenes work, collecting medical records, lab samples, imaging, and more.
  • The Cleveland Clinic expert specialist conducts a thorough review of your diagnosis and/or treatment plan.
  • You’ll receive a detailed report quickly and efficiently. Most patients receive their second opinion in one to four days after all records are in hand. The end-to-end turnaround time averages under two weeks.

Whether you are considering a second opinion for peace of mind or to explore alternative treatment options, know that it is a valuable step in managing your health and well-being.

Get Started with a Second Opinion from The Clinic by Cleveland Clinic

If you’re ready to get started with a second opinion, register online. Our team is dedicated to providing exceptional care and personalized attention to each patient. Don’t hesitate to seek out a second opinion – it could make all the difference.