2nd Opinion Yields Different Diagnosis for 1 in 5 Patients: Study

One-fifth of patients who sought a second opinion at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. had been misdiagnosed by their primary care providers, a new study says.

Twelve percent of the 286 patients who sought a second opinion after seeing primary-care physicians, physician assistants and nurse practitioners in 2009 and 2010 received the same diagnosis both times, and the remaining patients received "better defined/refined" diagnoses when they sought a second opinion, the Washington Post reported.

The study was published in the Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice.

"Diagnostic error is an area where we need more research, more study and more information," said study leader James Naessens, a professor of health services research at the Mayo Clinic, the Post reported. "The second opinion is a good approach for certain patients to figure out what's there and to keep costs down."

He noted that the patients in the study felt their conditions were were serious enough to have them re-checked by some of the best doctors in the country, which makes this group of patients somewhat different than the general population.

"It's not going to be 20 percent wrong every time" a patient sees a doctor, Naessens told the Post.

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