Healthcare system in the Philippines is mostly out of the patient’s pocket. Very very few Filipinos have health insurance. Even among those who are insured, coverage is often meager and not enough to pay for all the health care costs. Many patients end up shouldering the remainder of the costs themselves.
Modern medicine is riddled with so many laboratory tests. They have become an integral part of how we manage patients. It has enhanced our ability to diagnose diseases and improve patient’s outcomes. However, many tests have become invasive of patient’s bodies and cost a lot of money. Sad to say, some tests are also not judiciously used.
Should patients question doctors regarding the use of these tests? I believe so. Patients have to understand why they are undergoing them and how the results will affect the management of the disease and the overall outcome.
When the test is quite expensive or when it is very invasive and uncomfortable, I think the patient should discuss this thoroughly with the doctor. The following are tips as to what the patients should ask their doctor:
1. Will it improve the patient’s condition or overall outcome?
2. Will it affect or alter how the patient is managed?
3. What are the risks of the test to the patient?
4. Will the benefits outweigh the risks?
5. What will happen if the test were not carried out?
6. What will happen next whether the result is positive or negative?
7. If after the test, a patient needs to undergo surgery or other forms of treatment, will the patient tolerate that kind of treatment?