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Virtual second opinion services could help patients

When Oklahoma patients seek treatment for their medical problems, they could face the risk of experiencing diagnostic errors. Even if the errors end up not being harmful, they can be costly and lead to unnecessary treatments. One way to reduce the rate of diagnostic errors is to get second opinions.

However, getting a second opinion can be difficult. As a workaround, some health insurance companies and employers are partnering with companies that utilize second-opinion services. Essentially, a physician virtually meets with patients to collect all of the relevant documentation and test results. The physician then puts together a case summary. The case summary and documentation can then be sent to different specialists depending on their expertise.

The intent for these types of second opinion services is not to replace a patient’s primary care physician but to be an additional resource that patients and physicians can use to reach out. These services can also help get second opinions from specialists who would have otherwise not gotten a chance to review the case.

It is estimated that approximately 12 million patients across the nation experience diagnostic errors every single year. In some cases, an error could result in a worsened medical condition that could have an impact on the person’s quality of life. If the physician makes a misdiagnosis and fails to recommend getting a second opinion if they are unsure of the test results, the patient may have the ability to file a medical malpractice claim against the physician and the practice. An attorney may determine if the patient has the grounds to file a lawsuit and gather evidence that provides proof that the physician or hospital was negligent in some way.