It's Okay To Ask Questions
Updated: May 9, 2019
A health-professional-led campaign called ChooseWisely is encouraging Kiwis to have well-informed conversations about their healthcare.
Often, the most appropriate healthcare plan comes from when you have an equal discussion with your healthcare professional about your situation. Here are some questions to help you do this:
Why do/don’t I need this test or procedure?
Tests may help you and your doctor or other healthcare professionals determine the problem. Procedures may help to treat it. Understanding why your doctor is or is not considering a test -and weighing up the benefits and risks – is always advisable and is every patient’s right and responsibility.
What are the risks?
If you have – or don’t have – the test or procedure, what is likely to happen? Are there potential side effects? What are the chances of getting results that aren’t accurate? Could that lead to more testing or another procedure?
Are there other options?
Sometimes all you need to do is make lifestyle changes, such as eating healthier foods or exercising more. There could also be alternative tests or treatments that might deliver useful information, while reducing any potential negative impacts for you.
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.
These questions can help you make sure you end up with the right amount of treatment — not too much and not too little.
You may also want to make a follow-up appointment to ask further questions, discuss continuing issues or talk to your health professional about your decisions after you’ve had time to consider the options.