Choosing Healthcare: What Your Options Are
The world of healthcare is often very confusing – between insurance, specialists, tests, and more, it can be difficult to know which doctor to see, or if you should see multiple doctors for one condition. Let’s alleviate some of that confusion today:
Hi, I’m Dr. Meredith Warner, orthopedic surgeon at Warner Orthopedics & Wellness. In my clinical practice, I always welcome patients from other physicians who are seeking second opinions about their course of treatment. Many patients aren’t fully aware of what their options are – and how choosing a doctor from a different hospital can drastically change factors such as cost, the types of treatment available to you, and more.
For example, if your physician recommends an opioid to help you cope with the pain of an ankle sprain, absolutely seek a second opinion – you can get addicted to opioids in as little as 6 days, so they should only be prescribed when absolutely necessary.
Many doctors were taught in medical school to look for pharmaceutical or surgery-based solutions to most conditions – many do not consider lifestyle changes. I know that when I was in medical school, not nearly enough of my coursework focused on the difference changes in nutrition, quality of sleep, etc., could make in the long-term health of my future patients. That’s why I founded Warner Orthopedics & Wellness as an independent practice, so I could take the time to really address my patients’ concerns and create truly customized treatment plans for them.
Not All Doctors Will Recommend The Same Treatment
Be wary of any doctors who diagnose you in one visit without performing a good examination or running tests – and for those who immediately recommend invasive procedures such as surgeries. If you want to try lifestyle changes first and are not facing a life-threatening illness, your physician should support your efforts. Now, occasionally you may present with a very obvious problem with a very obvious solution; but most of life is much more complex than such cases.
You should be aware that not all doctors receive the same training. Yes, there are standardized tests, but beyond that, doctors are trained differently depending on which medical school they attend and where they trained in residency. Also, some do not keep up with current literature and others are reading different academic journals, research studies, and more.
Some physicians don’t continue researching their chosen fields but instead rely on the opinions of their peers. Recent studies that look at large data sets have shown that the better the school where the doctor trained, generally the better the outcome. Also, there are geographic differences in treatments that are based on nothing more than what is called ‘groupthink’. Be mindful of this.
Now, this isn’t always a bad thing – if you see a doctor for a second opinion and their opinion on your diagnosis and treatment differs from that of your primary doctor, this simply gives you a more informed, well-rounded view of your options. Personally, I wish all of my patients would seek second opinions because I want to make sure they are absolutely comfortable with our shared treatment plan. Remember too that many physicians are forced to refer within his or her same system or group and maybe an outside viewpoint might help you to make your best decision.
Don’t Be Afraid To Get A Second Opinion
When you decide to seek a second opinion, please keep in mind that there is nothing wrong with doing so. Your doctor will not be offended if you take your concerns to another clinic, because he or she will want you to be completely comfortable with their proposed treatment plan before undergoing it.
I personally always seek second and even third opinions for myself, and my family members. I will never be offended if a patient wishes to do so. If it’s something your doctor does, it may be a good idea for you to seek second opinions as well.