Questions are the Answer
This is Healthcare 411.
Medical mistakes cause tens of thousands of deaths each
year, and in many cases patients can play a role in helping to
prevent these mistakes more on this next.
Medical mistakes claim tens of thousands of
lives every year. The health care community is
working on it, but you can help.
When you communicate with your doctor, when you
ask more questions, you reduce your risk of
suffering a medical mistake. Doctors can’t
answer if you don’t ask. Help reduce your risk.
Questions are the answer.
Learn the 10 questions you must ask. Visit
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Department of Health and Human Services, The
Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, and
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Debra: This is Healthcare 411.
Clancy: The Institute of Medicine estimated that between 44
and 98 thousand Americans die every year as a result of
avoidable medical errors.
Dr. Carolyn Clancy, Director of the Agency for Healthcare
Research and Quality.
Clancy: To the extent that consumers, by asking questions
and playing a more active role in their own health and health
care can prevent that, we think that’s an incredibly important
How will patients benefit by asking questions?
Clancy: By asking questions, consumers can often anticipate
problems that they are likely to have with treatments. They may
also gather information that will be useful to them in the
future. For example, people who have diabetes who are active
are often monitoring their own blood sugars, they learn how to
anticipate problems before they occur, and do a better job
Debra: Why do you think that patients are reluctant to ask
questions of their providers?
Clancy: Patients are very sensitive to the fact that health
care professionals these days are often incredibly busy and they
kind of get the message that I don’t have time now. I think
that is simply a signal to consumers to say I know you might be
busy right now, but tell me when I can get my questions
Debra: To learn more about asking the right questions, go
to www.ahrq.gov. I’m
Debra James. Healthcare 411 is produced by the U.S. Agency for
Healthcare Research and Quality, part of the U.S. Department of
Health and Human Services.