Tips for Patients to Become More Involved in their Health Care

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) would like to remind all community members of the importance of becoming intimately involved in your own health care. This is a message that each Chicago medical malpractice lawyer knows to be an important one. While the law can provide redress and accountability after a preventable mistake occurs, all patients would prefer to avoid the harm at the outset. Being proactive in the care received is one way that medical errors can sometimes be caught before they cause harm.

Of course, it seems obvious that all patients would take an active role in their own health care. However, beyond just heeding medical advice, it is important to actually ask questions and clarify information received from medical providers. In this way, if the professional has forgotten something or made an error he or she may be reminded to correct it when asked by patients.

The AHRQ is working hard to raise awareness of the important of active health care involvement. They have created many resources including pamphlets and videos to explain how patients can ensure that they are as active as possible with their medical professional. For example, one handy brochure explains how preparation is the key to active health care participation. Specifically, it is important for patients to plan ahead for questions that they might have and things to be on the lookout for. A few tips include…

Before an Appointment
-Be sure to bring all medicines to your appointments, including prescription drugs, non-prescription drugs, supplements, and vitamins.
-Come with a written list of any questions that you might have. Trying to remember them without writing them down often leads to them being unasked.
-Be educated about your own past medical history (including surgeries and allergies) to explain in case you are asked.

During an Appointment
-Be forthright about any problems you are having or concerns about past issues when receiving treatment.
-If there is anything that the doctor has explained that is unclear, ask questions to clarify.
-If a test is ordered, ask how it is performed, how it will feel, what preparation is required, and how the results will be received.
-If you need a prescription, explain to the doctor if you are pregnant, nursing, have allergies, or are taking any supplements.

After an Appointment
-Follow doctor’s instructions as closely as possible.
-Never stop taking medications that were prescribed unless you have specifically talked with a doctor or pharmacist about doing so.
-If symptoms get worse or you are unsure about medical instructions, be sure to contact your doctor immediately.
-If necessary, promptly set appointments for tests to be performed.

Our Illinois medical malpractice lawyers remain committed to patient safety. That includes providing accountability and redress when errors are made. In addition, the patient safety effort also involves helping all community members be proactive in the care they receive, helping to prevent mistakes before they actually cause harm. To learn more about these issues and access helpful material, consider visiting the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality’s website to explore their offerings.

See Our Related Blog Posts:

Medication Error Rates the Same with Electronic Prescriptions

Medication Errors Require Millions to Receive Additional Care

Lawyer Monthly - Legal Awards Winner
The National Trial Lawyers
Elder Care Matters Alliance
American Association for Justice
Fellow Litigation Counsel of America
Super Lawyers