Everyone has a role in patient safety. Patients can ensure a safer experience with the health care system by being involved and informed about their treatment. Here are some steps you can take to help ensure you have a safer healthcare experience.
Be an informed health care consumer.
- Seek information about illnesses or conditions that affect you.
- Research options and possible treatment plans.
- Choose a doctor, clinic, pharmacy and hospital experienced in the type of care you require.
- Ask questions of your doctor, nurse, pharmacist or benefits plan coordinator.
- Seek more than one opinion.
Keep track of your history.
- Write down your medical history, including any medical conditions you have, illnesses, immunizations, allergies, hospitalizations, all medications and dietary supplements you’re taking and any reactions or sensitivities you’ve experienced.
- Write down the names and phone numbers of your doctors, clinics and pharmacies for quick and easy reference.
Work with your doctor and other health care professionals as a team.
- Share your health history with your care team.
- Share up-to-date information about your care with everyone who’s treating you.
- Make sure you understand the care and treatment you’ll be receiving. Ask questions if you’re not clear on your care.
- Pay attention. If something doesn’t seem right, call it to the attention of your doctor or health care professional.
- Discuss any concerns about your safety with your health care team.
Involve a family member or friend in your care.
- If you’re not able to observe or participate fully in your care, ask a family member or friend to assist. They can accompany you on appointments or stay with you, help you ask questions, understand care instructions and communicate your preferences.
Understand and follow your treatment plan.
- Be sure you receive all instructions verbally and in writing that you can read and understand. Ask questions about any instructions that are confusing or unclear.
- Take medications exactly as prescribed.
- Use home medical equipment and supplies only as instructed.
- Report anything unusual to your doctor.