Speak Up

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 Joint Commission.

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

There are many people involved in ensuring that you or your family member get good medical care. The most important member of the team is you. You need to be an active participant in the healthcare process. By “Speaking Up” for yourself and your family members, you become the center of the healthcare team. Credit The Joint Commission here.

Before I go to the doctor
Before you go to see your doctor, think and plan in advance for the things you need to ask or bring
Talking with your doctor
Working with your doctors and other healthcare staff as part of the healthcare team will help improve your care and your level of satisfaction. Here are some tips to help you and your doctor become partners in improving your health care.  
Ask 3
The Partnership for Clear Health Communication (PCHC) is a national, non-profit coalition of organizations working to build awareness and advance solutions to improve health literacy and positively impact health outcomes.  They recommend asking 3 simple questions of your healthcare provider.

  • What is my main problem?
  • What do I need to do? 
  • Why is it important for me to do this?    

Here are a few tips you can try:

  • I will ask the 3 questions.
  • I will bring a friend or family member to help me at my doctor visit.
  • I will make a list of my health concerns to tell my doctor or nurse.
  • I will bring a list of all my medicines when I visit my doctor or nurse.
  • I will ask my pharmacist for help when I have questions about my medicines.

Your doctor, nurse, and pharmacist want you to get the information you need to care for your health. 
Create a List
Are you visiting your health care clinician or pharmacist? It is important to be prepared. Create a personalized list of questions that you can take with you.

Use these handy forms - check the boxes that apply to you to help you "Create a List" to bring with you to your health care provider.

Know Your Medications
Knowing which medications you take and why you take them is one of the easiest ways for you to avoid any problems with them. You can work as part of the healthcare team, along with you doctor and pharmacist, on ensuring that you medications are working for you.

Medication Safety
Using medication safely is important - these check lists will help you avoid potential problems.

Medication Minder
List all of your prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, herbs, dietary supplements, and homeopathic remedies, include the amount of alcohol you consume on a daily or weekly basis, and any recreational drugs you take.

It’s important to include all of this information in case of emergencies. Include the dose or amount of medication that you usually take and how often or what time of day you take it, even if you take it only occasionally.  Carry this list with you and share it with your pharmacist, doctor or other caregiver.