Friday, June 23, 2006

Test yourself?

…HA is always joking (sort of) that she should just knock off, go to med school, and take care of herself!

…A few years ago, a doc she interviewed gave her the website of a lab who could do her thyroid tests for her.

…”You mean…get my OWN tests?” HA replied. (She never did it.)

…Nick Timiraos, writing in the Wall Street Journal (June 20, 2006), says this is all the rage now.

…Well, aren’t they always bleating about “consumer-driven health care”?

…At and, you got to the site, select a test, enter your zip code and get directions to a specimen-collection lab near you. You don’t need a doc’s prescription—and it’s walk-in.

…One nurse never even called her doctor—she got her yearly tests, nothing looked worrisome, that was it.

…Of course, she’s a nurse. How do we mortals know what these chicken-scratchings mean?

…It kind of says on the report if your numbers are normal, high, or low. It does on the one the doctor gets, too.

…The drug ads, one woman pointed out, are asking us to tell THEM about medicines. Maybe we can tell THEM about our tests, too.

…Pro or con, readers?


Mignon said...

I've gotten my own cholesterol tests by mail before and it was great. Convenient, easy to interpret, and a lot less expensive than going to the doctor.

On the flip side, I got my cholesterol taken at a cardiology conference once and that didn't go so well. (I think it was a booth in the convention center for a cholesterol lowering drug.) The test readout was a little harder to interpret, and I got confused because I had been hearing all day at talks that you should be keeping your LDL below 100. My results were in the high hundreds, but that was for COMBINED LDL & HDL. So I had a few minutes of panic until I spoke to the nurse and she pointed out the difference.

I've always been a strong, strong advocate for self testing, but the experience did give me pause. If a medical writer covering a cardiology conference can get confused, what's the potential for my mother, or grandmother to get confused?

Still, I believe it is my body and I should be able to find out anything I want about it without a doctor playing gatekeeper!

Star said...

I am kinda hesitant--but just today did a round of calls--did the doctor get the tests from the other doctor, if so, did the second doctor have a reaction to them, etc.

This is a full-time job. OK--half-time.

I might add--ALWAYS get your results. No news is NOT good news. No news could mean one of seven ways your tests could have been lost or done wrong.

Bill Thomasson said...

I assume these are pay-for-it-yourself tests. If you have insurance, why would you want to do that?

And as a general rule, if you need to have a test done you probably should be seeing a doctor anyway. I wouldn't want to claim there's never an exception, but none immediately pops to mind.

Star said...

Maybe they don't have insurance. Or they want to avoid two visits and throw money at it instead. Or in the case I was considering, and I have ins, the doctor was poohpoohing the test I wanted. There could be reasons...