Gaining Information for Safer Healthcare
Sep 01, 2014 12:53AM
By Sonya Flanders
Giving and receiving safe care is a goal that is shared by healthcare providers, patients and families. For many people, it can be hard to keep track of all the health information heard during medical visits, including diagnoses, tests, medications and other instructions. But it’s important to make sure to have the information we need and understand what to do for ourself after we leave the doctor’s office, clinic or hospital.
Asking healthcare providers questions is one way to make sure we understand our care and helps doctors, nurses and other members of the healthcare team know if they explained things clearly or and if they need to give us more information so we can care for ourself safely.
Plan questions before seeing a healthcare provider whenever possible, write them down and bring them to your appointment. In the hospital, keep a notepad by the bed to write down questions to be ready when the healthcare provider arrives and write down the answers.
The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality has a webpage (Tinyurl.com/QuestionsForDoctors) that lists questions to ask before, during or after medical appointments, tips for talking with providers, videos to watch and ways to create our own list of questions. The National Patient Safety Foundation also has information for patients about asking questions. The short video, Ask Me 3 (Tinyurl.com/AskThreeQuestions), shows how patients and family members can talk with their healthcare team to make sure they understand their main health problem, how to care for this problem, and why.
For more information like this see Scrubbin.In.
Sonya Flanders, RN, ACNS-BC, is an adult clinical nurse specialist with Baylor who moved to Texas from Canada to become a Baylor nurse. See ad, page 5.