Seven questions to ask before a test

When your clinician suggests a test, here are seven questions you should consider asking. (And if you are a clinician, you should be asking yourself these questions before you recommend the test.)

  1. What question are we asking with this test?
  2. How will the answer help us? (Another way to ask this is: What will we do differently once we have the information?)
  3. How and when will I get the results?
  4. How do I make sure the results also get to my other clinical team members?
  5. How sensitive and specific is the test? (Sensitivity is a measure of how good the test is at finding abnormalities . A sensitive test will not miss much, but may over diagnose. Specificity is a measure of how good the test is of not mislabeling normal as abnormal.  It is unusual in medicine to have a test that is both very sensitive and very specific.)
  6. Are there any risks?
  7. How much will it cost?


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