How can I decide if I need a specific medical test?

Ask your primary care physician whether you need a specific medical test. Your primary care physician can help you decide on what blood work you need based on your age, gender and medical history.

When you see your doctor, remember that when it comes to testing, more is not better. There are risks associated with unnecessary testing. The results of any test should have the potential to improve your care and subsequent health, and test results obtained by subspecialists should be routinely shared with your primary physician to limit duplication and wasteful spending.

There are very few “routine tests.” Electrocardiography (EKGs), chest X-rays and most laboratory tests are not useful for prevention or health maintenance. Tests and procedures should be done with specific goals in mind and when the benefits outweigh the risks involved.

To determine if someone needs a specific medical test, we take a detailed history of their symptoms and give them a physical. Based on their physical, we usually try to come up with a short list of possible diagnoses. In order to identify the right diagnosis, we perform blood tests and maybe even other screenings like an electrocardiogram, depending on what we think it is.

Trinity Health is a Catholic health care organization that acts in accordance with the Catholic tradition and does not condone or support all practices covered in this site. In case of emergency call 911. This site is educational and not a substitute for professional medical advice, always seek the advice of a qualified healthcare provider.

Continue Learning about Tests and Procedures

Shocking News About DIY Electro Stimulation
Shocking News About DIY Electro Stimulation
Nicola Duffy, from Dublin, Ireland, recorded her own close call with a bolt of lightning -- so...
Read More
What will my child want to know about medical procedures?
What your child wants to know will chiefly involve these concerns:What is being done?How much it wil...
More Answers
Why should I consider getting a QEEG?
Charles J. Sophy, MDCharles J. Sophy, MD
QEEGs can be used to help assess psychiatric and neurologic conditions (ADHD, anxiety, depression, P...
More Answers
How Big of an Issue Are False Positives?
How Big of an Issue Are False Positives?

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.