Patient safety is one of today’s most pressing health care challenges. Improving health care quality and reducing medical mistakes are of serious concern to doctors, but patients need to do their part too. Today we’re celebrating Patient Awareness Week and bringing you some tips on how to be your own advocate.
The most important thing you can do to improve the quality of your health care and reduce medical mistakes is to take an active role in your care. You can enhance the quality, safety and effectiveness of your health care by asking questions about your diagnosis, treatment and any medications prescribed to you.
The answers you get can help you make better health care decisions, receive a higher level of care, reduce medical mistakes and feel better about your care overall.
Tips to get started
These suggestions can help you play an active role in your care during your next doctor visit:
- Don’t be afraid to talk to your doctor and ask questions. Make sure he or she understands your symptoms and concerns, and that you understand his or her instructions.
- Write down any concerns or questions you have prior to the appointment.
- Keep a list of all your current medications, including prescription, over-the-counter and vitamins.
- Take notes during the appointment.
- Bring a family member with you.
- Make sure your doctor knows about any allergies to medicines you have.
- Be involved in every decision about your care and treatment.
During your appointment, be sure you understand everything your doctor tells you. These questions can help you get started:
- What is the test or procedure for?
- How many times have you done this procedure?
- When will I get the results? (If you don’t get the results, do not assume it means the results are fine. Follow up by phone.)
- Why do I need this treatment or prescription?
- Are there any alternatives?
- What are the possible complications?
- Which hospital is best for my needs?
- How do you spell the name of that drug?
- Are there any side effects?
- Will this medicine interact with medicines I’m already taking?
AUI has a number of resources to help employees live well and work well. To learn more about ways we can help you, please contact us!