New Booklet Advises Taking an Active Role in Health Care Decisions
February is National Wise Health Consumer Month. To support this, the Federal
Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) has produced a new booklet
with practical tips on what people can do to improve their quality of health
care services, including how to avoid medical errors. This booklet-- "Improving
Health Care Quality: A Guide for Patients and Families"-- focuses on the key
health care choices people typically make and stresses taking an active role
in all of the decisions about healthcare.
Research has shown that people who are more actively involved in their health
care get better results and feel more satisfied. According to the AHRQ, there
are some things that you should do to get more involved:
- Work together with your doctor, nurse, and any other health care providers
to make healthcare decisions.
- Ask questions, and keep asking them until you understand the answers.
- Tell your doctor about all of the medicines you take.
- Don't assume that "no news is good news" when you have an x-ray
or laboratory test. Ask the doctor or nurse when and how they will receive
the results -- and how they will deliver them to you.
- If surgery is needed, be sure that you, your primary care doctor, and surgeon
all agree on what will be done.
- Know that "more is not always better." Be sure to find out why
a test or treatment is necessary, and how it can help.
- When making health care choices, find and use information about quality
This new publication is based on research about the information people want
and need when deciding about their care. The material in the booklet is presented
in an easy-to-read style, and it also describes other resources available on
quality of care. Copies are available free of charge by calling the AHRQ Publications
Clearinghouse at 1-800-358-9295 (410-381-3150 for international calls), or by
writing to AHRQ Clearinghouse, P.O. Box 8547, Silver Spring, MD, 20907. In addition,
this guide can also be found on the AHRQ
Created: 2/26/2001  - Donnica Moore, M.D.