You may be aware of the sometimes overwhelming range of tests, treatments and procedures available for many different health conditions. However, just because they are available doesn’t necessarily mean you should have them done.
While many tests, treatments and procedures can help you get better or even save your life, some may be unnecessary, cause unwanted side effects and anxiety, or result in further unnecessary testing.
As each situation is unique, the best advice is to talk to your healthcare provider so you can work out an appropriate health care plan together.
Choosing Wisely Aotearoa recommends 4 questions you can ask your GP or healthcare provider when discussing test, treatment or procedure options for you or your whānau.
1. Do I really need this test, treatment or procedure?
Discuss with your GP or healthcare provider what the test, treatment or procedure is, what it involves, why they have suggested it and whether it’s necessary or not.
2. What are the risks?
Ask if there are any risks involved and weigh those up. Are there any side effects? Talk about what would happen if you do, or don’t have the test, treatment or procedure. Ask about the accuracy of results and whether you could you get a false positive or negative result.
3. Are there simpler, safer options?
Talk about alternative tests, treatments or procedures. Maybe a lifestyle change such as exercising more, cutting back on alcohol or eating healthier food is all that’s needed.
4. What happens if I don’t do anything?
Ask what would happen if you don’t have the test, treatment or procedure right away, or at all. Would your condition get worse or better? What are the risks of delaying it or not doing it at all?
Unnecessary tests do not add value to you or your whanau Choosing Wisely, NZ
Do I really need that test? Too many tests could do patients more harm than good Ranjana Srivastava, Australian oncologist, The Guardian 2016