Patients today are faced with many decisions about what treatments and tests to have. Two patients might make entirely different decisions for treating the same condition, based upon their own needs, beliefs and circumstances. The key is making the decision that is best for you.
Your doctor should present to you the pros and cons of medical test or treatment options available for your condition. If you have questions, ask; don’t wait for your provider to bring up a topic. To arrive at the best decision for you, combine your provider’s medical knowledge with your knowledge of yourself. Patients who participate in health care decisions are usually happier with the care they receive.
If you are faced with making a health care decision, check out our health decision making guide. Here you will find advice on how to make medical decisions concerning a variety of tests, surgeries and medications related to many health conditions, including specific questions to ask your provider and what questions to ask yourself. The guides educate you and help you organize your questions. You can even print out a summary to help guide your discussion of your decisions with your provider.
Alan Lampson, M.L.S., is a medical librarian and is lead of the Frymoyer Community Health Resource Center at the UVM Medical Center.