Patients who seek a second opinion: are they different from the typical referral?

J Clin Gastroenterol. 1989 Jun;11(3):308-13. doi: 10.1097/00004836-198906000-00013.


Little is known about what factors determine when a patient decides to seek a second opinion from an internist. The Canadian health care system, which places no responsibility for payment on the patient, allows a unique opportunity to assess such factors when financial influences are minimized. We hypothesized that in such a milieu patients with functional diseases might be more apt to seek a second opinion. In a university-based gastrointestinal unit we investigated how many of the patients, referred for the first time, were seeking a second opinion--i.e., a second consultation within 2 years of seeing a gastroenterologist. We compared the characteristics of 20 patients with 246 patients referred for the first time to a university-based gastrointestinal unit. All patients were interviewed at clinic registration, prior to seeing the gastroenterologist. Variables assessed included demographic characteristics, health care utilization within the last year, and perceived health status. A second questionnaire was offered to second opinion patients to determine (1) reasons for seeking a second opinion, and (2) whose decision it was to seek the second opinion. Following the interview, the patient's referring physician was contacted and asked identical questions. Both referring physician and gastroenterologist assessed every patient on a functional rating (FR) scale of 1 to 5 (with 1 being definitely organic and 5 being definitely functional).(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Canada
  • Costs and Cost Analysis
  • Gastrointestinal Diseases / psychology*
  • Health Services / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care*
  • Patients / psychology*
  • Referral and Consultation*
  • Regression Analysis