Medical tests can be used to screen for possible illness, to diagnose what’s causing symptoms, or to monitor health conditions or the effects of treatment.
Medical tests include pathology tests such as blood and urine tests, and a range of imaging tests like X-rays, computed tomography (or CT scans), ultrasound and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).
Deciding whether a medical test is the best choice involves weighing up several factors, especially the benefits and risks for a person's individual situation. For example:
- how likely it is that the person has a problem
- the test’s accuracy (including false positives and false negatives)
- any possible harms of doing the test
- the impact of uncertain or inconclusive results.
Read more about understanding medical tests, including questions to ask, and learn more about tests for some common conditions.
Health professionals can find evidence-based information about medical tests for particular conditions.
Search medical tests
When a medical test is recommended, how do you know what the test is for, and what it involves? See our guide to help you discuss your options with your health professional.
Find out about our recommended sources of detailed information on pathology tests and radiology (imaging).
Medical tests for health conditions
Learn about INR tests for people taking warfarin and why they are important.