For Patients: 20 Tips to help prevent medical errors

AHRQ (Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality) has published a patient fact sheet for consumers / patients outlining strategies for preventing medical errors.  The pamphlet, found here, contains much advice on managing accurate communication between clinicians, physicians and patients to help reduce the potential for medical errors.  The first three recommendations are copied below…

What Can You Do?  Be Involved in Your Health Care

1.   The single most important way you can help to prevent errors is to be an active member of your health care team.

That means taking part in every decision about your health care. Research shows that patients who are more involved with their care tend to get better results.  Some specific tips, based on the latest scientific evidence about what works best, follow.

Medicines

2.   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.

At least once a year, bring all of your medicines and supplements with you to your doctor. “Brown bagging” your medicines can help you and your doctor talk about them and find out if there are any problems. It can also help your doctor keep your records up to date, which can help you get better quality care.

3.   Make sure your doctor knows about any allergies and adverse reactions you have had to medicines.

This can help you avoid getting a medicine that can harm you.

The rest of the list can be found at AHRQ’s website.

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