5 Questions to Ask Your Health Care Provider

Before You Get Any Test, Treatment, or Procedure

Use the 5 questions to talk to your health care provider about which tests, treatments, and procedures you need — and which you don’t need.

Some medical tests, treatments, and procedures provide little benefit. And in some cases, they may even cause harm.

Talk to your health care provider to make sure you end up with the right amount of care—not too much and not too little.

1. Do I really need this test or procedure?

Medical tests help you and your health care provider decide how to treat a problem. And medical procedures help to actually treat it.

2. 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?

3. Are there simpler, safer options?

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

4. 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.

5. How much does it cost?

Ask if there are less-expensive tests, treatments or procedures, what your insurance may cover, and about generic drugs instead of brand-name drugs.