Second Opinion: Needed for Patient or Gain for Doctor?
Often, many patients tend to become sceptical or dissatisfied if their doctor suggests that they seek a second opinion, because they feel that such a suggestion indicates that their doctor is not competent. However, one should not forget that medicine is a highly complex science in which rapid advances are the order of the day and it is not humanly possible for one doctor to keep abreast of all developments in all fields. Consequently, a second opinion proves very useful for those patients afflicted with rare or complex problems. Unfortunately, some doctors tend to refer patients unnecessarily to other members of their fraternity. Also, doctors will often cross refer patients to each other for personal financial gain. In hospitals, especially, specialist consultation is often automatic and mandatory, and this process is inevitably overused. The upshot is that the patients’ bill shoots up! Thus, a hospitalized patient should ask the family physician (who should act as your medical manager) to intervene if the number of specialists involved in the treatment seems excessive.
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Our focus areas now are:
1. encouraging health insurance companies to invest in patient education
2. advocating information therapy
3. setting up a national network of patient education centers
4. developing patient educational materials in Indian languages for the web