Researchers at the Mayo Clinic examined 286 patient records of individuals who had decided to consult a second opinion, hoping to determine whether being referred to a second specialist impacted one's likelihood of receiving an accurate diagnosis.
The study, conducted using records of patients referred to the Mayo Clinic's General Internal Medicine Division over a two-year period, ultimately found that when consulting a second opinion, the physician only confirmed the original diagnosis 12 percent of the time.
Among those with updated diagnoses, 66% received a refined or redefined diagnosis, while 21% were diagnosed with something completely different than what their first physician concluded.
"Effective and efficient treatment depends on the right diagnosis," says lead researcher Dr. James Naessens in a Mayo news release. "Knowing that more than 1 out of every 5 referral patients may be completely [and] incorrectly diagnosed is troubling ? not only because of the safety risks for these patients prior to correct diagnosis, but also because of the patients we assume are not being referred at all."