Finding answers and treatment plans for serious health problems can feel overwhelming. Sometimes another perspective can help you learn about your other options.
What is a second opinion?
When you get a second opinion, the second doctor reviews your medical records and gives an opinion about your health problem and how it should be treated. A second opinion may confirm or question the first doctor’s diagnosis and treatment plan, give more information about your disease or condition, and offer other treatment options. Sometimes they may suggest different treatment options than the first doctor you saw.
What will you need for your second opinion appointment?
The doctor or medical team you choose for your second opinion will need as much information as possible to make an assessment, including:
- A pathology report from a biopsy or a surgery
- Detailed reports of any surgeries
- Discharge summaries (documents made by your doctor when you leave the hospital)
- Treatment plan summaries
- A list of all medications and doses you take
You might have to call your doctor’s office and ask them to send records over to the team giving your second opinion. In some cases, you might be able to ask through an online “patient portal.” It is a good idea to keep copies of the above information for yourself as they will be useful for you if you require treatment.
Does my insurance cover a second opinion?
It’s always a good idea to check with your insurance provider first. Most insurance companies will pay for you to get a second opinion, but to be safe the medical office you are getting your second opinion at can check coverage for you.
Who do I go to for a second opinion?
If you feel you can’t ask your current doctor, there are other ways to get a second opinion. You can try:
- Ask your insurance provider to recommend a specialist
- Asking a local clinic for a recommendation
- Asking a local hospital for a recommendation
- Searching a medical association for a specialist near you
We offer second opinions here at Ironwood Cancer & Research Centers, contact our scheduling department
Appointments are often offered in 24-48 hours and we will check your insurance coverage for you.