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The value of second opinions on thyroid nodule management provided via direct-to-consumer telemedicine service

HumanInsight The value of second opinions on thyroid nodule management provided via direct-to-consumer telemedicine service

Am J Otolaryngol. 2022 Dec 6;44(2):103732. doi: 10.1016/j.amjoto.2022.103732. Online ahead of print.


PURPOSE: Second medical opinions (SMO) can improve patient outcomes and change medical decision-making. The purpose was to determine the concordance of initial management of thyroid nodules for patients seeking SMO to established management guidelines.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: Cases of patients consulting a single provider via telemedicine for SMO on the workup and management of thyroid nodule(s) were reviewed from September 2011 to February 2022. The primary outcome was the overall rate of adherence to 2015 ATA guidelines (correct/incorrect) and complete agreement (yes/no) between SMO and initial treatment team.

RESULTS: Most sought a second opinion for treatment options. Only 14 (29.2 %) cases had followed all the guidelines correctly. Living in North America compared to Asia (10/18 vs. 4/25, p = 0.004) and consulting endocrinology (11/21 vs. 3/26, p = 0.004) was associated with correct following of all guidelines. The most common violations of the guidelines were a lack of Bethesda scoring in pathology reports (31.8 %) and inappropriate initial FNA (25.5 %). The SMO was in complete agreement with the initial treatment recommendation in 31 cases (64.6 %), in partial agreement in 12 cases (25 %), and in disagreement in 5 cases (10.4 %).

CONCLUSIONS: In our study, adherence to guidelines was low. However, the SMO agreed with the workup and management of most patients, as most of this discordance with guidelines did not affect the overall treatment. The virtual second opinion consult was valuable in addressing patient-specific concerns, explaining additional treatment options, and, in a few cases, recommending against inappropriate surgical intervention.

PMID:36682146 | DOI:10.1016/j.amjoto.2022.103732

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