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Medical second opinion

The Importance of Medical Second Opinion in India

The second opinion is turning into a standard patient request worldwide. As a result, the global medical second opinion market is booming. According to the ‘Global Medical Second Opinion Market, Trends, Dynamics, and Market Analysis’ report, the Global Medical Second Opinion Market will reach 10.24 billion by 2026. The report predicts growth of 19.3% from 2020 to 2026. Many studies emphasize the importance of seeking a medical second opinion, as medical error and misdiagnosis cause many deaths around the world.

According to a study by researchers at Johns Hopkins Medicine, medical errors are the third leading cause of death in the USA.

There are also cases when medical errors aren’t reported. The NORC survey at the University of Chicago reveals that 32% of medical errors were reported to patients by health facilities. However, 67% of the patients said they were not informed.

Therefore, obtaining a second opinion is becoming more common in India as well. Second opinions can be indeed beneficial for patients in many ways.

Benefits of obtaining a medical second opinion

Protecting yourself from misdiagnosis

Getting a medical second opinion is a powerful tool to protect yourself from misdiagnosis.

The study conducted at Mayo Clinic revealed that 88% of the patients who visited the Mayo Clinic to obtain a second medical opinion went home with a new diagnosis. Only 12% of patients had accurate diagnoses.

Some researchers claim that medical errors occur quite frequently in different corners of the world.

21% of American adults experienced a medical error, according to a survey by the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, National Patient Safety Foundation, Lucian Leape Institute, and NORC at the University of Chicago. Such errors adversely affect not only the patient’s physical health, but also their emotional, and financial well-being.

Medical second opinion in India

Finding the best treatment option

Today many treatment methods are available thanks to significant achievements in medical research. In the context of various diseases, clinical literature supports several treatment options.

Second opinions can sometimes change the initial treatment plan.

In the study ‘Outcomes of second opinions in general internal medicine’, a new treatment was initiated in 56% of patients. This study was conducted at an internal medicine outpatient clinic of the University Medical Center in Utrecht.

The study ‘Patient-initiated second opinions: systematic review of characteristics and impact on diagnosis, treatment, and satisfaction’ reveals interesting findings. In 10- 62% of cases, patient-initiated second opinion consultations resulted in major changes in diagnosis and treatment.

Therefore, obtaining a second opinion can be helpful to find the most appropriate treatment plan.

The practice of seeking a colleague’s opinion regarding a patient’s health condition is also becoming more common among doctors. This can be effective if the colleague has more experience in treating a particular disease.

Exploring the medical second opinion market in India

Several factors contribute to the rise of the medical second opinion market in India.

Healthcare sector growth

The healthcare sector is turning into one of the biggest sectors in India both in terms of employment and revenue. As of 2021, it employed 4.7 million people totally, according to the India brand Equity Foundation. Furthermore, the healthcare sector is predicted to grow at a CAGR of 22% from 2016 to 2022.

With the growth of the Indian healthcare sector and improvement of the infrastructure, second opinions have become more popular among Indian patients.

Medical error and misdiagnosis

Government initiatives

The Indian Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has released the Charter of Patient Rights recently. The Charter consists of the lawful rights as stated in the Constitution of India. This law protects the rights of patients seeking medical care.

The Charter of Patient Rights includes ‘the right to a second opinion’. So, patients in India have the right to look for a second opinion from the doctor or hospital they prefer. Both doctor and hospital must respect the patient’s decision. In case the patient makes a choice of turning to another doctor or hospital, they are responsible for handing over all the patient information. The hospital has no right to stop or discourage the patient from seeking medical care elsewhere.

The rise of healthtech industry

Leveraging the latest technology in health care is revolutionizing the Indian healthcare system. It gave rise to the online second opinion services in India.

This has resulted in more patients seeking second medical opinions in India over the past few years.

According to the IAMAI-Praxis report ‘HealthTech Predictions 2021’, the Indian healthtech market will reach $5 billion by 2023.

In addition, the COVID 2019 pandemic also accelerated the adoption of remote healthcare services in India, such as e-pharmacy, e-diagnostics, etc.

Consequently, the healthtech startup ecosystem in India is flourishing.

Healthtech startups can play an essential role in this context. Docus is one of successful examples. It enables Indian patients to have access to a medical second opinion and accurate diagnosis based on the best medical expertise.

Docus offers an all-in-one platform connecting Indian hospitals and patients with the best international doctors. Two doctors can conduct video and written consultations to offer patients the most appropriate treatment.

As a result, Indian patients can obtain a second opinion based on the international medical knowledge and expertise. Docus has partnered with leading doctors from the USA and Europe, covering various specialties, including radiology, cardiology, neurology, etc. This increases the patient’s chances of recovering from severe diseases.

To wrap it all up, seeking a medical second opinion can give you peace of mind. Moreover, it can help you protect yourself from misdiagnosis, and find efficient treatment option.

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