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Prior information about normal test results can help reassure patients

Armen Hareyan's picture

Patient Information

Giving patients prior information about diagnostic tests can help improve patient outcomes and give reassurance, says a new BMJ study.

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Providing reassurance is a large part of doctors' and other health professionals' roles. Yet many patients remain anxious about their condition even after the results of investigative tests come back 'normal' (i.e. the test does not reveal any particular problems).

These patients often continue to be concerned about their condition, use drugs inappropriately and seek medical help from other health professionals for their symptoms. Previous research suggests that by the time patients undergo tests they have already developed negative ideas and beliefs about their symptoms