Clip and Copy: Enlist patients in error prevention

September 19, 2003

You benefit, too, when patients know what questions to ask and actions to take regarding their health care.

You benefit, too, when patients know what questions to ask and actions to take regarding their health care.

Most medical errors result from problems created by today's complex health care system, according to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality in Rockville, MD. But the AHRQ notes that errors also happen when doctors and their patients have problems communicating, and when doctors don't do enough to help patients make informed decisions. As stated on the AHRQ's Web site, "Uninvolved and uninformed patients are less likely to accept the doctor's choice of treatment and less likely to do what they need to do to make the treatment work."

Use the form to the below, adapted from AHRQ publications, as a handout to help patients become active participants in their health care at your office, the pharmacy, and the hospital. Involved patients are more likely to comply with medical instructions, make follow-up appointments, get necessary tests, or take other actions that result in better outcomes.

If patients want additional information, the AHRQ Web site's Consumers & Patients page (www.ahrq.gov/consumer) has articles—in English and Spanish—on clinical issues, health plans, prescriptions, prevention and wellness, quality of care, smoking cessation, and surgery. Other patient safety articles on the agency's Web site include "Five Steps to Safer Health Care" (www.ahrq.gov/consumer/5steps.htm), "Ways You Can Help Your Family Prevent Medical Errors!" (www.ahrq.gov/consumer/5tipseng/5tips.htm), and "Now You Have a Diagnosis: What's Next?" (www.ahrq.gov/consumer/diaginfo.htm).

—Gail Garfinkel Weiss
Senior Editor

To view the form in Word you must have Word 2000 or better. If you don't have this program you can download the free Microsoft Word 97/2000 Viewer. (You cannot edit an open document in Word Viewer. However, you can copy text to the Clipboard to paste it in other applications).

Other forms and patient handouts are available in the Clip and Copy section of our Web site at www.memag.com .



Gail Weiss. Clip and Copy: Enlist patients in error prevention. Medical Economics Sep. 19, 2003;80:80.