A new study by the University of Michigan found that risk, benefit and cost are the main reasons why people put off having diagnostic testing done.
"We try, in the health care community, to recommend things that are helpful," Dr. William Meurer, an associate professor of emergency medicine and neurology at Michigan Medicine and a member of the Michigan Center for Integrative Research in Critical Care, said in a press release. "But for defensive diagnostic testing, it can be somewhat of a gray area."
Researchers found that when the risk from a diagnostic test increased significantly, participants who accepted the test decreased from 52.5 percent to 28.5 percent. When the benefit from a diagnostic test increased significantly, participants who accepted the test increased from 28.4 percent to 53.1 percent.
When the cost increased from $0 to $1,000, participants agreeing to the test decreased from 61.1 percent to 21.4 percent, making cost the most significant decision-making factor.
"We found that participants were more apt to get the diagnostic test if it was at a lesser cost," said Meurer. "It proved to us that people are potentially sensitive to getting an additional bill for diagnostic testing."