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Quality Initiatives

Patient Safety Initiative: SpeakUP to Help Prevent Errors in Your Care

Everyone has a role in making health care safe – physicians, healthcare executives, nurses and technicians.  Health care organizations across the country are working to make health care safety a priority.  You as the patient can also play a vital role in making your care café by becoming an active, involved and informed member of your health care team.

An Institute of Medicine (IOM) report has identified the occurrence of medical errors as a serious problem in the health care system.  The IOM recommends, among other things, that a concerted effort be made to improve the public’s awareness of the problem.

The “Speak Up” program, sponsored by the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations, urges patients to get involved in their care.  Such efforts to increase consumer awareness and involvement are supported by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.  This initiative provides simple advice on how you, as the patient, can make your care a positive experience.  After all, research shows that patients who take part in decisions about their health care are more likely to have better outcomes.

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 that medications you take and why you take them.  Medication errors are the most common health care mistakes.

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.