Second opinions are used in medicine in order to make better-informed decisions. Only a few studies have examined patient-initiated second opinions, and even fewer have examined it in the context of acute hospitalization. It is not clear whether patients and families are aware of this right and how often they exercise it during acute hospitalization. The objective of this paper is to identify factors associated with the awareness and utilization of patient-initiated second opinions. A survey was conducted among 92 neurosurgical patients who completed a questionnaire that included information regarding: awareness of second opinion consultations, reasons for not seeking a second opinion, satisfaction from the second opinion and sharing the results of the second opinion with the first physician. Multivariate Logistic Regression analysis was performed to identify potential confounders associated with awareness and seeking a second opinion. Findings revealed that 79% percent of the participants were aware of their right to receive a second opinion; however, only 31% opted to receive a second opinion before/during the hospitalization. Fifty-eight percent received a second opinion related to previous medical conditions. Fifty-four percent did not inform the first physician about the results. The Logistic Regression showed that health insurance, education, religiosity and gender predicted awareness and utilization of second opinions. Current findings indicate that although patients are aware of their right to a second opinion and many have used it in the past, they rarely use it during acute hospitalization. Encouraging health professionals in hospitals to refer their patients to a second opinion as part of shared decision-making, may improve the liability and efficacy of patients' care.

Experience Framework

This article is associated with the Quality & Clinical Excellence lens of The Beryl Institute Experience Framework. (http://bit.ly/ExperienceFramework)