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6 Things to Bring To Your Second Opinion


6 Things to Bring to a Second Opinion

In an earlier post we discussed if you should consider a second opinion.  If you decided you wanted one, then there are some key items you should have for the visit.

#1 – Your Personal Information and Insurance Cards

You will need to bring your insurance card, or the card for the person you are going to the appointment with.  You will also want to have your driver’s licence or some other form of photo identification.  If you are with someone else, ensure they have the information as well.

#2 – Pre-authorization

If you have an insurance company, the only way to know if they will or will not pay for a visit is to get a pre-authorization for the visit.  Often you will find contact details on the back of the insurance card that you can call to verify what the out-of-pocket expenses may or may not be.

#3 – Name and Location of Visit

Often second opinions are from academic institutions or another healthcare facility that you are not familiar with.  You might want to consider bringing a detailed map that also gives information on where to park, or you can consider driving there prior to the appointment just to ensure you get there on time.

 #4 – Hospital Affiliation for Physician

Some published physicians are affiliated with academic medical centers. If you find this information, you can often learn more about the hospital’s rankings through many sources like  It is a good idea to review this information even before making the appointment.


#5 – Medication List

If you read a prior post on Requesting Your Medical Records, you will have already requested a current medication list from the last office visit.  Consider including any vitamins or over-the-counter medications as well.

#6 – Medical History Details

You will want to bring the equivalent of a mini personal health record to the appointment.  Consider documenting known allergies, surgical history, family medical history, lab results, visit summaries, diagnosis information, x-rays, or any test results.

You can learn about Requesting Your Medical Records from your current physician in an earlier post.  These are all candidates for bringing to the second opinion.

If you want detailed guidance on how to create a personal health record, MindLight offers a course on how to create the health record step-by-step.

Wrap Up

If you made the choice to get a second opinion, then you will want to make the best use of your time.  Consider that the new physician doesn’t know anything about you or your case and has not been tracking your history.  Ensure you bring anything you think they might need.  You can also consider calling their offices to see if they have any specific requests.


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