Nine Ways to Get Better Care

  1. Talk with your doctor or nurse.
    Talk with your doctor or nurse about what matters to you. Share your beliefs and preferences for care. Ask questions. Make a list of all the questions you want to ask. Bring the list to each appointment and write down the answers. If you don’t understand, ask again until you do.

  2. Don’t go it alone.
    Take a friend or family member along to medical appointments. They can listen, take notes and help you remember what was said.

  3. Learn about the best treatments for your condition.
    A lot of research has been done on what care works best for chronic conditions like asthma, diabetes and heart disease. For many conditions, clear standards for treatment exist. Become familiar with what works for you...d is available all the time, no matter where you are. This can reduce errors and unnecessary tests.

  4. Know the difference between more care and better care.
    Studies have shown that getting more care doesn’t mean that you are getting better care. Sometimes, getting more care can actually do harm or expose you to unnecessary risks. If you think you may be getting more care than you need, you can protect yourself by asking: “How will this help me? What will we find out from this test?”

  5. Take responsibility for your health care.
    Find and review reports of physician and hospital performance. Work as a partner with your doctor or nurse to ensure you’re getting the best care. Talk with your doctor or nurse about your health care goals and follow through on their recommendations.

SOURCE: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ)