Know your tests

When your doctor requests some tests, you should find out why they need to be done, how they will be done, and what the doctor expects to learn from them. Here are some questions you might want to ask:
  • Why does this test need to be done? How could it change the course of my care?
  • What do you (the patient or carer) need to know or do before the test?
  • What happens during and after the test?
  • How much will the test hurt or cause inconvenience? What are its risks?
  • How much will the test cost? Is it covered by Medicare or private insurance?
  • How long will the test take? When will results be available?
  • Where do you need to go to take the test? Is there a 'good' time to have the test?
  • What are normal results? What do abnormal results mean?
  • What factors can affect the results?
  • What course of action may be next, after the test? 
Your doctor (or sometimes a nurse) is the best person to answer these questions. No matter how brief the answers may be, they are likely to provide you with the answer most specific to your situation. After you hear from them, you can get more details from this website.