Speak Up for Health’s Sake

Health care is complicated. Find out how to make sense of it from the nation’s oldest and largest accrediting organization in health care.

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Setting an appointment for your annual physical is hopefully near the top of your to-do list for the New Year. But getting the most out of the doctor’s visit (and receiving the best care possible) requires some additional work on our part, according to the latest Speak Up campaign from The Joint Commission.

Here are seven tips from the expert group for those of us who relate to the TV ads showing inquisitive people who pepper sales and wait staff with nonstop questions—only to clam up in the doctor’s office:

Speak up if you have questions or concerns, and, if you don’t understand, ask again. It’s your body and you have a right to know.

Pay attention to the care you are receiving. Make sure you’re getting the right treatments and medications by the right health care professionals. Don’t assume anything.

Educate yourself about your diagnosis, the medical tests you are undergoing, and your treatment plan.

Ask a trusted family member or friend to be your advocate.

Know what medications you take and why you take them. Medication errors are the most common health care errors.

Use a hospital, clinic, surgery center, or other type of health care organization that has undergone a rigorous on-site evaluation against established state-of-the-art quality and safety standards, such as that provided by The Joint Commission.

Participate in all decisions about your treatment. You are the center of the health care team.

Click here http://www.jointcommission.org/PatientSafety/SpeakUp/ for downloadable brochures in the Speak Up series, including Preventing Errors in Your Child’s Care, Avoiding Mistakes in Your Surgery, and What You Should Know About Pain Management.

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  1. Keep a medical passport with details of every visit to doctors and laboratories. Also ask for a copy of all investigations and specialist reports. Keep a copy of your own medical details. Valuable when traveling or being admitted to a Hospital. Ask for a CD of all scans; worth paying an admin. fee. Much time is wasted trying to recall medical details.


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