October 2003 Bulletin

Patient Information from Your Orthopaedic Connection

Patients have important role in safer health care

Ensuring patient safety is a national priority, and everyone involved in the health care system has a role —including the patient. Patients can help make their health care experience safer by becoming active, involved and informed members of the health care team. Research shows that patients who take part in decisions about their health care are more likely to have better outcomes. The more information patients have about health care, the better they can make decisions about what is best for them. Here are some tips for safer care:

Pay attention to your health care.
If something doesn’t seem right, tell your doctor or another health care professional (i.e., nurse, technician, etc.). Make sure you get the right medications and treatments.

Educate yourself about your illness or condition. Ask your doctor for patient-friendly literature so you can learn about your diagnosis, medical tests and treatment.

Ask for help from an advocate.
Consider involving a trusted family member or friend in your care. You may want an advocate to:

Know the medications you take.
Medication errors (i.e., wrong medication, wrong dosage) are the most common health care mistakes. Know the names and dosages of all medications you take, and why you take them.

Participate in decisions about your health care. You are the center of your health care team. Work with your doctor and other health care professionals, and participate in all decisions about your treatment.

Your orthopaedic surgeon takes patient safety very seriously. He or she works hard to ensure that your health care experience is safe and effective. If you have questions about your treatment, please talk with your orthopaedist.

Content is drawn from the AAOS patient safety Web site. For more information about how to play a more active role in your health care, visit the Web site.

© 2003 American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons

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