20 Tips to Prevent Medical Errors
- The single most important way you can help to prevent errors is to be an active member of your health care team.
- Make sure that all of your doctors know about everything you are taking. This includes prescription and over-the-counter medicines, and dietary supplements such as vitamins and herbs.
- Make sure your doctor knows about any allergies and adverse reactions you have had to medicines.
- When your doctor writes you a prescription, make sure you can read it.
- Ask for information about your medicines in terms you can understand - both when your medicines are prescribed and when you receive them.
- When you pick up your medicine from the pharmacy, ask: Is this the medicine that my doctor prescribed?
- If you have any questions about the directions on your medicine labels...ask.
- Ask your pharmacist for the best device to measure your liquid medicine. Also, ask questions if you're not sure how to use it.
- Ask for written information about the side effects your medicine could cause.
- If you have a choice, request a hospital which many patients have the procedure or surgery you need.
- If you are in a hospital, consider asking all health care workers who have direct contact with you whether they have washed their hands.
- When you are being discharged from the hospital, ask your doctor to explain the treatment plan you will use at home.
- If you are having surgery, make sure that you, your doctor, and your surgeon all agree and are clear on exactly what will be done.
- Speak up if you have questions or concerns.
- Make sure that someone, such as your primary care manager (PCM), is in charge of your care.
- Make sure that all health professionals involved in your care have important health information about you.
- Ask a family member or friend to be there with you and to be your advocate (someone who can help get things done and speak up for you if you can't).
- Know that "more" is not always better.
- If you have a test, don't assume that no news is good news.
- Learn about your condition and treatments by asking your doctor and nurse and by using other reliable sources.
page last modified on: 5/7/2013