Effective medical decision-making – the importance of second opinions

In the past, second opinions were unavailable. Doctors didn’t always have access to the latest medical research. They often decided how to treat patients using only their own judgement and experience, and what they learnt at medical school. We now know that this is not the best way to practise medicine. This is because what doctors think is best for a patient is not always what the research shows is best. Patients who obtain a second opinion can be confident that their second opinions provider has thoroughly researched the scientific literature.

When researchers study a disease or a condition, they usually look at many more patients than any one doctor will ever treat. Also, medical knowledge changes all the time. And what doctors used to think was the best thing to do, even a few years ago, might actually be considered harmful today.

Only by looking at all the evidence and judging it fairly can you work out what the research really says about a treatment. This is called practising ‘evidence-based medicine’ and forms the foundation for secure second opinions.

Key points about second opinions

  • All evidence is not alike. Some evidence is better than other evidence. This will clearly influence the quality of the second opinions
  • When doctors look at the research before recommending a treatment, they are using evidence-based medicine.
  • Evidence-based medicine looks at all the research that there is about a disease or treatment.
  • When researchers look at whether a treatment works, they look at many more patients than your doctor will ever treat. A properly researched second opinion can really transform health outcomes
  • Sometimes the evidence can’t tell you which treatment is best for you, so it’s important that you weigh up the benefits and harms of treatment carefully.

The second opinion service provided by Acuitus Medical is based on input from the worlds leading medical experts. Acuitus Medical support the publication ‘clinical evidence’ a publication for doctors written by experts from all over the world. These experts look at all the evidence for a treatment. They weigh it up carefully and decide which treatments work and which don’t work. They include research studies that have been published and those that haven’t been published. Anyone who cares about receiving high quality healthcare should receive a second opinions to guide medical decision-making.

Learn more about our three services that can be added to your employee benefits by clicking below

Medical Review

Radiology Reporting

Treatment Sourcing