Tests and Shared Decision Making

When your doctor orders a test, you might automatically agree to have it done. After all, you trust your doctor knows how to best diagnose and treat you.

But not every test is necessary. Tests such as routine blood work before surgery or an MRI for back pain do not improve outcomes and are part of the reason health care has become so costly.

When your doctor orders a test or procedure, you should ask six simple questions before deciding if it’s really necessary.

  • Do I really need this test or procedure?
  • Does it work and under what circumstances?
  • What are the downsides or risks for me?
  • Are there simpler, safer options?
  • What happens if I wait and do nothing?
  • How much will it cost me?

Talk to your doctor about the tests, treatments and procedures you need. We all have a responsibility to keep health care costs down and reduce waste. For more information, read our report about health care waste in Washington state.