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Wednesday, December 12, 2007 9:00 AM

HC411R - Health Care Quality - Know It When You See It

Rand: This is Healthcare 411. Are you getting quality health care? Learn how to know it when you see it, next.


Narrator: Every year more than 15 million Americans have surgery. Most operations are not emergencies, which means that you’ll have time to learn about your operation and make certain it’s the best treatment for you. And you’ll have time to work with your surgeon to help make the surgery as safe as possible. Be active in your health care to ensure you receive quality care.  To find out more about important questions to ask before surgery, visit www.ahrq.gov/consumer. A message from the U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.

[End PSA]

Rand:  This is Healthcare 411. Recent research shows quality health care can help people stay healthy and recover faster. However, defining health care quality isn’t always easy, and spotting it can be sometimes even more difficult. AHRQ Director Dr. Carolyn Clancy offers consumer tips on knowing it when you see it.

Dr. Clancy:  Quality health care -- the right care for the right person at the right time -- should avoid overuse, under use and misuse of services.  So high quality care means that you get all the proper routine screenings you need, like screening for high blood pressure.  However, it also ensures that you’re not getting tests that you don’t need or that may actually harm you.

 Rand:  What can patients do to make sure they’re getting quality care?

Dr. Clancy:  First and foremost, ask questions.  It’s very, very important to ask questions until you’re satisfied that you understand.

Rand:  And AHRQ has a consumer guide with more information on health care quality, right?

Dr. Clancy:  That’s right, AHRQ has a booklet called Guide to Health Care Quality, How to Know It When You See It.  The book contains information on how to make quality a key factor in all your health care decisions.

Rand:  The booklet is available on AHRQ’s Web site online at www.ahrq.gov/ consumer. To learn more about health topics, go to healthcare411.ahrq.gov. I’m Rand Gardner, Healthcare 411 is produced by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

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