The seeking of a second opinion is the long-established process whereby a physician or expert from the same or a similar specialty is invited to assess a clinical case in order to confirm or reject a diagnosis or treatment plan. Seeking a second opinion has become more common in recent years, and the trend is associated with significant changes in the patient-doctor relationship. Telemedicine is attractive because it is not only fast but also affordable and thus makes it possible to reach highly qualified centres and experts that would otherwise be inaccessible, being impossible, or too expensive, to reach by any surface transport. In Europe, the European Headache Federation (EHF), being able to draw on a group of headache experts covering all the European languages, is the organisation best placed to provide qualified second-opinion consultation on difficult headache cases and to develop a Headache Medical Opinion Service Centre. The provision of good quality clinical information is crucial to the formulation of a valid, expert second opinion. This preliminary step can be properly accomplished only by the primary health care provider through the furnishing of an appropriate clinical report, together with the results of all available tests, including original films of all imaging studies already performed. On receiving the EHF's proposed standardised data collection form, properly filled in, we may be sure that we have all the relevant data necessary to formulate a valid expert second opinion. This form can be accessed electronically and downloaded from the EHF website. Once finalised, the EHF second opinion project should be treated as a pilot strategy that requires careful monitoring (for the first year at least), so that appropriate changes, as suggested by the retrospective analysis and its quality control, can be implemented.
- Second opinion
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine
- Clinical Neurology