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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 medical history
Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality
- Medical Errors: Tips to Help Prevent Them (American Academy of Family Physicians) Also in Spanish
- Patient Safety: What You Can Do to Be a Safe Patient (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
- Questions to Ask the Doctor: Do You Know the Right Questions to Ask? (Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality)
- Report a Patient Safety Concern or File a Complaint (Joint Commission)
- Getting Medical Care? How to Avoid Getting an Infection (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
- Speak Up: Help Avoid Mistakes in Your Surgery (Joint Commission) - PDF
- Staying in the Hospital? Safety Tips for Your Visit (National Institutes of Health) Also in Spanish
Statistics and Research
- Chartbook on Patient Safety: National Healthcare Quality and Disparities Report (Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality)
- National Healthcare Quality and Disparities Reports (Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality)
- Patient Safety (World Health Organization)
- ClinicalTrials.gov: Patient Advocacy (National Institutes of Health)
- ClinicalTrials.gov: Patient Safety (National Institutes of Health)
Journal Articles References and abstracts from MEDLINE/PubMed (National Library of Medicine)
- Article: 'Speaking Up' for patient safety and staff well-being: a qualitative study.
- Article: Global Assessment of Pediatric Patient Safety Tool for identifying safety incidents...
- Article: Planned improvement actions based on patient safety incident reports in Estonian...
- Patient Safety -- see more articles
Find an Expert
- Speak Up: Prevent Errors in Your Child's Care (Joint Commission) - PDF
- Help prevent hospital errors (Medical Encyclopedia) Also in Spanish
- Use of restraints (Medical Encyclopedia) Also in Spanish