When it comes to your health, more can be better. More exercise. More fruits and vegetables. More sleep. But not always more tests and procedures.
Each year thousands of patients in Washington receive unnecessary medical treatment. This includes medications, screenings, diagnostic and pre-operative tests and procedures that have been shown to have little benefit in certain circumstances and could actually cause more harm than good.
When your doctor suggests a treatment, it’s important for you to be an active participant in the final decision. By talking with your doctor, you can weigh the benefits, risks and costs – physical, emotional and financial, of a test or procedure, and then make a choice that’s right for you. If your doctor understands what matters to you, they will be better able to help you with important decisions down the road.
Before a test or procedure, ask your doctor:
- Do I really need it?
Some tests and procedures may be unnecessary or inappropriate given your particular circumstances. Ask your doctor to tell you if you really need the treatment, test or procedure and how it will make a difference.
- What are the risks & benefits?
For some, the potential harm resulting from some screenings, diagnostic and pre-operative tests can outweigh the benefits. Ask your doctor to clearly outline the risks of the treatment, test or procedure, as well as the potential benefits.
- What else can I do to improve my health?
Ask if there are simpler, safer options, and what happens if you do nothing.
A talk with your doctor is the smart way to make sure you end up with the right amount of care: not too much, not too little. After all, it’s your health.