(photo credit: Courtesy)
Israelis are increasingly taking advantage of the right to ask for a second
medical opinion, now that this is subsidized by their health funds’
supplementary health insurances. A new Ben-Gurion University of the Negev study
– claimed to be the first of its kind in the world – shows that physicians who
give second opinions are influenced by external factors. Dr. Geva Waschitz, Dr.
Nadav Davidovich and Prof. Yosef Pliskin and other researchers at Soroka
University Medical Center in Beersheba recommend that patients seek an alternate
opinion when they hesitate to take the advice of their own physician.
aim of the study was to determine whether doctors who give second opinions are
influenced by the first opinion.
The researchers presented a hypothetical
case to a national sample of orthopedists.
Some of those queried were
told that the patients had previously received diagnoses and recommendations,
but were not told what they were. Others were told what the first opinion was.
The rest were informed that after they gave their second opinion, the patient
was interested in hearing an additional opinion from another doctor. When the
orthopedists knew that the first doctor had recommended surgery, they were more
likely to recommend an operation as well, and when they heard the patient was
looking for yet another opinion, the orthopedists were much more likely to
recommend conservative treatment such as physiotherapy instead.
interviews with 35 neurologists and orthopedic specialists found that they
generally had a positive view of second opinions, and even encouraged patients
to seek them. But second opinions also involve difficulties in patient-doctor
relationships, and among specialists themselves. It is also difficult for
patients to choose what to do after several doctors offer conflicting
Specialists interviewed also noted the tension between public and
private medicine, the gaps in accessibility between patients in the center and
those in the periphery of the country, family intervention, and the legal and
economic aspects of second opinions.
CLALIT: REMEMBER YOUR PILLS!
a member of Clalit Health Services who tends to forget to take your medications?
Now the largest health fund offers a free service: it sends a daily SMS to the
cellphones of members who want it while protecting patients’ privacy. It says
that those who forget to take their pills include young people who are too busy
with daily life and the elderly with chronic illness whose memory is deficient.
Dr. Yossi Bahagon, head of online services at Clalit, says most people who take
medications on a daily basis are aged 45 to 65. Research in Israel and abroad
has found that about 60% of them don’t take their pills regularly, and
forgetfulness is one of the main reasons.
The customer can choose his
preferred SMS message, and the frequency of taking the drug recommended by his
Parents of children with type 1 diabetes can register to
remind them when to take insulin, while adult children can register their ageing
parents. The service is applicable to all cellphone models that use SMS service.