Fact Based List:

AHRQ: 20 Tips for patients to Help Prevent Medical Errors

Submitted by Marshall Riddle on Mon, 12/20/2010 - 11:16

  1. The single most important way you can help to prevent errors is to be an active member of your health care team
  2. Make sure that all of your doctors know about everything you are taking. This includes prescription and over-the-counter medicines, and dietary supplements such as vitamins and herbs
  3. Make sure your doctor knows about any allergies and adverse reactions you have had to medicines
  4. When your doctor writes you a prescription, make sure you can read it
  5. Ask for information about your medicines in terms you can understand—both when your medicines are prescribed and when you receive them
  6. When you pick up your medicine from the pharmacy, ask: Is this the medicine that my doctor prescribed?
  7. If you have any questions about the directions on your medicine labels, ask.
  8. Ask your pharmacist for the best device to measure your liquid medicine. Also, ask questions if you're not sure how to use it
  9. Ask for written information about the side effects your medicine could cause
  10. If you have a choice, choose a hospital at which many patients have the procedure or surgery you need
  11. If you are in a hospital, consider asking all health care workers who have direct contact with you whether they have washed their hands
  12. When you are being discharged from the hospital, ask your doctor to explain the treatment plan you will use at home
  13. If you are having surgery, make sure that you, your doctor, and your surgeon all agree and are clear on exactly what will be done
  14. Speak up if you have questions or concerns
  15. Make sure that someone, such as your personal doctor, is in charge of your care
  16. Make sure that all health professionals involved in your care have important health information about you
  17. Ask a family member or friend to be there with you and to be your advocate (someone who can help get things done and speak up for you if you can't)
  18. Know that "more" is not always better
  19. If you have a test, don't assume that no news is good news
  20. Learn about your condition and treatments by asking your doctor and nurse and by using other reliable sources

Source: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality: Patient Fact Sheet
Source URL: http://www.ahrq.gov/consumer/20tips.htm

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