5 questions to ask your doctor or other healthcare provider before you get any test, treatment, or p

5 questions to ask your doctor or other healthcare provider

Some tests, treatments and procedures provide little benefit. And in some cases, they may even cause harm.
Use the 5 questions to make sure you end up with the right amount of care — not too much and not too little.

Do I really need this test or procedure?

Tests may help you and your doctor or other healthcare provider determine the problem. Procedures may help to treat it.

What are the risks?

Will there be side effects? What are the chances of getting results that aren’t accurate? Could that lead to more testing or another procedure?

Are there simpler, safer options?

Sometimes all you need to do is make lifestyle changes, such as eating healthier foods or exercising more.

What happens if I don't do anything?

Ask if your condition might get worse — or better — if you don’t have the test or procedure right away.

What are the costs?

Costs can be financial, emotional or a cost of your time. Where there is a cost to the community, is the cost reasonable or is there a cheaper alternative?

Adapted from material developed by Consumer Reports.

Click on the links below to download this resource as a PDF.

Also see which tests, treatments and procedures clinicians and consumers should question.

Last reviewed 14 March 2016

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