Oftentimes, people will have to make a huge medical decision at least once in their life. Yet, over half of Americans do not research other options or a second opinion physician before selecting a specific form of treatment. This is according to a recent poll by Harvard Health’s Letter editors.

second opinion physician

But, by getting a second opinion physician can save both time and money, not to mention potentially saving your life in the long run. This is why it is important to know when to get a second opinion from a physician.

For smaller, routine medical treatments you generally won’t need to get a second opinion like more important ones. In some cases you may receive unsightly medical bills or get unnecessary treatments that could pose a threat to your health. If you have any doubts about a medical procedure or questions towards your personal diagnosis, this is the time to seek advice from another doctor.

This is your health we’re talking about, so don’t be afraid to speak up about your medical thoughts and concerns! Food for thought, the ACS (American College of Surgeons) suggests getting at two or more second opinions before proceeding with surgery. And Harvard Health Publishing explains how your physician might be a poor fit for you, especially if he/she is disgruntled about you getting a second opinion.

In need be, request a referral from your primary care physician, preferably someone out of network with your own doctor/specialist. Someone in a different area of expertise who can you new insight into things. More often than not, your physician will be fine with your decision; for it is common when making major medical decisions. Plus, an ideal doctor is supportive of their patient and will not stand in your way from gaining more insight into other treatment options.

But should you be apprehensive about asking your doctor for the name of a second opinion physician, the next option is to contact your insurance carrier for further assistance. Your insurance company may or may not require getting a second opinion prior to major medical procedures or in more rare cases a third opinion.

Regardless of how you find another specialist for a second opinion, make sure to give them full details about your case. Prior to scheduling your appointment, keep any and all of your medical documents on hand. Also request for your first opinion documentation to be sent over as well. Cigna suggests you to take your specialist records over to your primary care doctor, as well as getting them interpreted.