Medical science has developed many amazing tests that provide a means for physicians to diagnose with incredible accuracy. I have often been thankful that a test was available, in my own life or in the lives of the people I care about, as I am sure you have, too.
But nothing is perfect. Tests can be invasive, uncomfortable and time-consuming. If copays are required or, worse yet, if they are not covered, then tests can be expensive. And some tests, like those involving radiation, need to be used cautiously and sparingly.
I hear a lot about medical tests. My counseling clients tell me that they hear or read about tests and then want their doctors to give them that test. Their doctors may or may not agree. I also hear about situations in which clients feel they are being given too many tests, and don’t see a reason for some of them. Or, they may be seeing different doctors to get an answer, and each doctor is requiring the same test, yet they don’t want the results from the last doctor. So the patient gets the same test over and over.
But how do you know when a test is enough or when it is too much?
I often hear about situations in which patients are given the choice of whether they want to have a test or not. A decision patients don’t always feel very comfortable making. In other words, it’s nice to feel empowered, but at what point do you feel like you are being asked to make a decision about a medical test that you don’t feel comfortable making? On the other hand, at what point do you decide that you don’t want a test? And do you feel comfortable with that decision, or in bringing it up with your doctor?
I am interested in knowing your perspective on medical tests. Good experiences, bad experiences, and those times when you weren’t sure if you should be tested or not.
And, what do you need from your healthcare team where medical tests are involved? What could they do to communicate better about testing?
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