88 percent of Mayo Clinic referrals for 2nd opinion get new diagnosis

Eighty-eight percent of patients who go to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota for a second opinion leave with a new or refined diagnosis, according to a new study.

The study found approximately one in every five patients may initially receive an incorrect diagnosis, the Mayo Clinic said in a news release.

Researchers studied the records of 286 patients referred to the Mayo Clinic for a second opinion or diagnosis confirmation over a two-year period. The group of referrals was previously studied for a related topic.

The study found 12 percent of those patients had their original diagnosis confirmed, while 21 percent of patients received a new diagnosis and 66 percent received a refined or redefined diagnosis.

The Mayo Clinic says physicians often recommend a second opinion based on the unusual nature of the symptoms or the complexity of the condition, or a patient will ask for it.

“A second opinion could lead to quicker access to lifesaving treatment or stopping unnecessary treatments,” the Mayo Clinic said in a statement. “A second opinion may reduce stress in a patient’s extended family, when they learn the new diagnosis does not carry dire genetic implications.”