Indianapolis — Watch any medical television show and in each episode, you might see someone dramatically asking for a “second opinion!” 

But what exactly does a second opinion mean. And how do you go about getting one?  

According to doctors at Hancock Health, second opinions are not the combative dramatic requests you see every week on tv, but they are a valuable, albeit underutilized, source of information. 

“It’s really giving us the opportunity to say hey i can do more. I can offer more to patients,” Hancock Health Oncologist Dr. Julia Compton said 

According to a 2017 study of patients, referred from primary care providers to Mayo Clinic’s General Internal Medicine Division, 21% of cases received a diagnosis that was “completely changed.” Roughly 66% of patients received a “refined or redefined diagnosis.”

Dr. Compton says patients should feel encouraged to seek out second opinions, particularly if receiving a life changing or rare diagnosis.  

“Other times it’s when you have that feeling that you want to be more comfortable,” Compton said.  

Hancock health has also recently joined the Mayo Clinic network which Compton says gives them access to a much larger pool of information.

According to Hancock Health: “It’s a remarkable clinical collaboration that lets our local experts benefit from the added experience of national authorities—and helps us give you exactly the care you need, close to home, at no additional cost.” 

“I think of it as our bench strength. We have a team of many experts here, not only primary care doctors but specialty physicians as well. But there are these situations that we talk about: colon cancer diagnosis, rare diagnosis where we want a second opinion and by joe it’s wonderful to have one of the best hospitals in the world being right there at your fingertips,” Compton said.