For GPs, testing patients is their “bread and butter”. This week, we discuss the “better safe than sorry” attitude towards testing, which is so common among doctors – are we guilty of over-testing purely out of force of habit, or are we worried about missing something vital, and therefore find reassurance in doing them? How should we interpret test results, and how do these results affect the way we manage our patients? And, with the huge focus on COVID-19 testing in the media, how do we communicate the current risks and uncertainties surrounding it to our patients?
James McCormack is a professor in the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences at the University of British Columbia, and the co-host of a popular weekly podcast called Best Science (BS) Medicine podcast. His work focuses on helping healthcare professionals to understand medical data, by taking the best available evidence and making it as simple and practical as possible.
Jess Watson is a GP, working in Bristol, and an expert on medical testing. She is a researcher with an interest in the use of diagnostic tests in primary care, specifically inflammatory marker blood tests.
James's BS Medicine Podcast
Jess's Practice Pointer - Interpreting a covid-19 test result