Understanding my tests

There are some useful website that provide information about some of the medical tests that your doctor might refer you for.

Understanding medical tests and some questions to ask

The Consumers Health Forum has developed a consumer resource which contains information for people who want to find out more about why they have been asked to have a diagnostic test and what it could involve – so that they can make an informed choice about it. This resource can be accessed here

NPS Medicinewise has a section devoted to Medical Tests that includes some questions to consider when working with your healthcare team

Choosing Wisely is an American website which contains information aimed at recognising the importance of physician and patient conversations to improve care and eliminate unnecessary tests and procedures.

Understanding costs associated with your medical tests

Consumers can search for particular Medicare items on the MBS Online website, either by entering the MBS item number or through a keyword search. This is easy when you know what the MBS item number is (e.g. MBS item number 23 for a standard GP consultation), or what the name of the service or test is (e.g. endoscopic laser therapy).

This task is more challenging for consumers who want to find out about the Medicare services and benefits available for the treatment of a particular condition (e.g. a particular chronic condition).

The MBS Online website search functionality is currently designed to search for particular items, rather than the overall treatment of general conditions or for particular groups. More information on the MBS and other frequently asked questions can be found here.

Understanding your pathology tests

Labtests Online provides some useful information about laboratory tests and how they are used.

Understanding your radiology tests

InsideRadiology website has been developed by the  Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Radiologists to provide consumers (patients, carers, potential users of radiology) and referrers (general practitioners, specialists and other health professionals) with accurate, up to date information about radiology tests and interventions that is easy to use and understand. 

Diagnostic Imaging Pathways is an online clinical decision support tool and educational resource for diagnostic imaging that is freely available to all consumers and health professionals.

Cancer Council WA has developed a resource to guide diagnostic imaging in general practice.  The resource, ‘Towards Appropriate Use of Diagnostic Imaging: A Guide for Medical Practitioners and their Patients ’ aims to provide information and support to patients and general practitioners when discussing diagnostic imaging tests.  The resource also has information on typical effective doses from diagnostic imaging tests and exposure through various radiographic examinations. 

Do you have ideas on how pathology and diagnostic imaging services could work better for you?  Share them in the ‘Have a say’ forum.

Information and links provided on OurHealth are not intended as a substitute for professional medical advice.