Getting a Second Opinion on Your Diabetes Care

Sometimes you just need the reassurance and perspective of a second opinion. Follow these steps.

By
Stacey Feintuch
Reviewed by
Philip Levy, MD

When your endocrinologist or primary care physician gives you a plan for tackling your diabetes, you can easily just follow orders. And if you’ve had a long, trusting relationship with your doctor—and your diabetes has been well controlled—that may be just fine. But what if you’re consistently having trouble? Or a new regimen isn’t feeling quite right? Or you’re beginning to question the treatment advice you’re getting?

Well, then, it may be time to seek a second opinion. Don’t worry that your endocrinologist or primary care physician will be offended. Healthcare providers often encourage second and even third opinions—in fact, it’s an important sign of a good physician. After all, they know that consulting with another doctor can help you sort through your treatment options, answer questions and simply shed new light on how diabetes is affecting you.

You may walk away with a renewed sense of confidence in your existing endocrinologist or primary care physician and in the choices you’re making—or you may decide it’s time for a change.

1. Determine whether you are ready for a second opinion.
You may be, if . . .

  • You’re uncertain about your diagnosis
  • You’re uncertain about your treatment
  • You want to learn your options and see whether the treatment or procedure is necessary
  • Your current doctor has recommended you undergo a risky procedure
  • Your insurance company requires a second opinion before covering your treatment

2. Find a healthcare provider for your second opinion.
Your current doctor may recommend a physician or two, but don’t feel obligated to follow the suggestion. Chances are, the physician will be a friend or colleague within the practice—and that means you might not get an objective opinion. You can get names of a second-opinion healthcare provider from:

  • Your local hospital (check the list of specialists on the hospital website)
  • Family or friends who’ve been treated for the same condition
  • Your insurance company (try their website)
  • Doctor-rating sites

3. Prepare for your second-opinion appointment.
Be sure that the second-opinion doctor accepts new patients and your insurance plan. Get a referral from the first doctor if you need one, and have all your records sent to the second-opinion doctor before your visit.

Published
April 2013