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Choosing your medical care wisely

As healthcare becomes more advanced, more tests and treatments become available. Many people believe that the more tests and treatments you have, the more you're looking after yourself and the healthier you'll be. This isn't true. More medicine doesn't always equal better health.

Most tests and treatments have possible side effects. Some even cause harm. Tests can lead to worry, further testing and unnecessary treatments.

There's a global campaign called Choosing Wisely. Many New Zealand health organisations support it, including the Council of Medical Colleges and the Health Quality Safety Commission.

Choosing Wisely aims to educate the public and healthcare professionals about which medical tests and treatments you can, and should, avoid.

There are four questions you should ask your doctor or nurse before getting any tests or treatments.

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Written by HealthInfo clinical advisers. Last reviewed June 2021.

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Review key: HISNY-105442