Making Health Care Safe
An Institute of Medicine (IOM) report states that medical mistakes are a serious problem in the health care system. The IOM says that public awareness of the problem is an important step in making things better. The “Speak Up™” program, sponsored by The Joint Commission and supported by the CMS, gives simple advice on how you can help make health care an excellent experience. Research shows that patients who take part in decisions about their own health care are more likely to get better faster. To help prevent health care mistakes, patients are urged to “Speak Up.”
Speak Up: Help Prevent Errors in Your Care
Everyone has a role in making health care safe. That includes doctors and other providers, health care executives, nurses and many health care technicians. Health care organizations all across the country are working to make health care safe. As a patient, you can make your care safer by being an active, involved and informed member of your health care team.
- Speak up if you have questions or concerns. If you still don’t understand, ask again.
- Pay attention to the care you get. Always make sure you’re getting the right treatments and medicines by the right health care professionals. Don’t assume anything.
- Educate yourself about your illness. Learn about the medical tests you get, and your treatment plan.
- Ask a trusted family member or friend to be your advocate (advisor or supporter).
- Know what medicines you take and why you take them. Medicine errors are the most common health care mistakes.
- Use a hospital, clinic, surgery center, or other type of health care organization that has been carefully checked out. For example, The Joint Commission visits hospitals to see if they are meeting The Joint Commission’s quality standards.
- Participate in all decisions about your treatment. You are the center of the health care team.
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For more information about the Speak Up™ program, visit The Joint Commission website at www.jointcommission.org.