Retrospective analysis of patients self-referred to comprehensive ophthalmology seeking second opinions
Daniel Gologorsky1, Scott H Greenstein2
1Dartmouth Medical School, Hanover, NH, USA; 2Department of Ophthalmology, Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA
Abstract: Patients choose to seek a second opinion in matters related to their health for a variety of reasons, and the total cost associated with these second opinion visits is estimated to be billions of dollars annually. Understanding the reasons behind second opinion self-referrals is key to improving patient satisfaction and reducing redundancy in delivered health care. This study represents a retrospective analysis of the records from a single provider at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary (MEEI) Comprehensive Ophthalmology Service in order to determine the various reasons that patients self-refer to an ophthalmology clinic seeking second opinions. A total of 174 patients presenting for a second opinion were identified over a one-year period. Patients presented for second opinions for two primary reasons: 60% presented in order to seek a confirmation of a diagnosis from an outside ophthalmologist (54%) or optometrist (6%), and 40% presented due to a previous adverse experience with an outside provider, such as perceived treatment failure (26%), poor bedside manner (3%), distrust of the provider (5%), and poor provider communication skills (7%). This study strives to reiterate that the reduction of adverse patient experiences through effective communication of expected treatment options and outcomes, with a realistic time course of therapy, could significantly improve patient satisfaction and reduce costly second opinion visits.
Keywords: referral, self-referral, second opinion, comprehensive ophthalmology
© 2013 The Author(s). This work is published and licensed by Dove Medical Press Limited. The full terms of this license are available at https://www.dovepress.com/terms.php and incorporate the Creative Commons Attribution - Non Commercial (unported, v3.0) License. By accessing the work you hereby accept the Terms. Non-commercial uses of the work are permitted without any further permission from Dove Medical Press Limited, provided the work is properly attributed. For permission for commercial use of this work, please see paragraphs 4.2 and 5 of our Terms.