Kaiser Health News (5/27, Andrews) reports that while it is “clear that second opinions can help individual patients make better medical decisions, there’s little hard data showing that second opinions lead to better health results overall.” A study provided by second-opinion service Best Doctors found that more than 40% of nearly 6,800 examined second opinions “resulted in diagnostic or treatment changes.” Another study reviewing existing research “found that 10 to 62 percent of second opinions resulted in major changes to diagnoses or recommended treatments.” However, it is not clear how outcomes are changed. Hardeep Singh of the Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center and Baylor College of Medicine, who co-authored both studies, said, “What is the real diagnosis at the end? The first one or the second one? Or maybe both are wrong.”
— “Second Opinions Often Sought But Value Is Not Yet Proven,” Michelle Andrews, Kaiser Health News, May 26, 2015.