You can help prevent medical errors by being an active member of your health care team. Research shows that patients who are more involved with their care tend to get better results. To reduce the risk of medical errors, you can
- Ask questions if you have doubts or concerns. Take a relative or friend to your doctor appointment to help you ask questions and understand answers.
- Make sure you understand what will happen if you need surgery
- Tell your health care providers about all the medicines you take, including over-the-counter drugs and dietary supplements. Tell them if you have any allergies or bad reactions to anesthesia. Make sure you know how to take your medications correctly.
- Get a second opinion about treatment options
- Keep a copy of your own health history
Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality
- Medical Errors: Tips to Help Prevent Them (American Academy of Family Physicians) Also in Spanish
- Patient Safety: Ten Things You Can Do to Be a Safe Patient (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
- Questions to Ask Your Doctor (Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality)
- Report a Complaint (about a Health Care Organization) (Joint Commission)
- Patient Safety: What You Can Do to Be a Safe Patient (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
- Speak Up: Help Avoid Mistakes in Your Surgery (Joint Commission) - PDF Also in Spanish
- Speak Up: Help Prevent Errors in Your Care: Ambulatory Care (Joint Commission) - PDF
- Speak Up: Help Prevent Errors in Your Care: Behavioral Health Care (Joint Commission) - PDF
- Speak Up: Help Prevent Errors in Your Care: Home Care (Joint Commission) - PDF Also in Spanish
- Speak Up: Help Prevent Errors in Your Care: Laboratory Services (Joint Commission) - PDF
Statistics and Research
- Diagnostic Errors Study Findings (Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality)
Journal Articles References and abstracts from MEDLINE/PubMed (National Library of Medicine)
- Article: Tracking Errors, Assessing Patients, Redesigning Processes-It's All About Safe Care.
- Article: Safety of Simultaneous Coronary Artery Bypass Grafting and Carotid Endarterectomy...
- Article: Improvement in Outcomes of Major Obstetric Hemorrhage Through Systematic Change.
- Patient Safety -- see more articles
Find an Expert
- Speak Up: Prevent Errors in Your Child's Care (Joint Commission) - PDF