There are a few things everyone should do to ensure a medical visit goes as safely as possible. Check out these tips and three good questions for good health.
Despite the best efforts of well-meaning doctors, nurses and other medical staff – mistakes can happen. And sometimes those mistakes can negatively affect your health. The surest way to minimize mistakes happening to you or to a loved one is to play an active role in your healthcare.
According to patient safety experts at Johns Hopkins Medicine, more than 250,000 deaths per year are due to medical error in the United States.
Whether you’re going to a routine doctor’s appointment or you or a loved one is receiving care at a hospital, there are a few things everyone should do to ensure a medical visit goes as safely as possible.
Always Bring Someone with You
When you bring someone with you, you have another person’s – a trusted person’s – observations and opinions to help ensure the right questions are being asked and that you understand what’s being communicated about your condition, tests and medications. You’ll want to be sure you know about any risks involved and potential side effects. And if something doesn’t seem right, be sure to speak up. You and the person you bring should feel empowered to ask for clarification or a further explanation if needed.
Bring Notes and Take Notes
Bring along a list of your medical history – that includes past and current medications. Hopefully, the practice or hospital will have an accurate medical history, but if not, you will be able to fill in the holes.
Also be sure to keep a careful record about what your doctor (or nurse) explains to you as well as any tests or procedures. This can be challenging when a lot of information is coming all at once. Keeping a detailed record will help you remember everything that’s being communicated to you after the fact. And if you’re not as alert as usual due to some condition or illness, having a friend or family member accompany you and take notes is a wise choice.
To help you remember what to ask, here are three key questions:
- What is my main problem?
- What do I need to do?
- Why is it important for me to do this?
Here’s a good example of how to apply these questions in a medical scenario: