Second opinion results in a different diagnosis for 1 in 5 patients

The data showed that 21% of cases received final diagnoses that were distinctly different than referral diagnoses.
The data showed that 21% of cases received final diagnoses that were distinctly different than referral diagnoses.

(HealthDay News) — One-fifth of patients who sought a second opinion recently at a single academic medical center had received a different diagnosis from their primary care providers, according to a study published online April 4 in the Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice.

Monica Van Such, MBA, from the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, and colleagues conducted a retrospective study at a single academic medical center using a sample of 286 patients referred by physician assistants, nurse practitioners, and physicians from primary care practices during 2009 and 2010.

The researchers found that 12% of the 286 patients who sought a second opinion received the same diagnosis both times, while 66% received better defined/refined diagnoses when they sought a second opinion and 21% received final diagnoses that were distinctly different from referral diagnoses.

"Referrals to advanced specialty care for undifferentiated problems are an essential component of patient care," the authors write. "Without adequate resources to handle undifferentiated diagnoses, a potential unintended consequence is misdiagnoses resulting in treatment delays and complications leading to more costly treatments."

Reference

  1. Van Such M, Lohr R, Beckman T. Extent of diagnostic agreement among medical referrals. J Eval Clin Pract. 2017. doi:10.1111/jep.12747
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