Being an Informed Consumer
Helpful Documents
Q: What questions should I ask my doctor or nurse to understand my health problem?

A: Start with these 3 questions:

  1. What is my main problem?
  2. What do I need to do?
  3. Why is it important for me to do this?
Q: What information should I bring for a doctor or hospital visit?
  1. Have an emergency contact’s name, address and telephone number available.
  2. Bring a list of medications you are currently taking.
  3. Come equipped with your own personal health history.
  4. Bring your current insurance card and know your Social Security number.
Q: How can I take an active role in my care?

A: The Joint Commission’s Speak Up™ program urges patients to take an active role in preventing health care errors by becoming involved and informed participants on their health care team. The Speak Up program encourages consumers to:

S peak up if you have questions or concerns. If you still don’t understand, ask again. It’ your body and you have a right to know.

P ay attention to the care you get. Always make sure you’re getting the right treatments and medicines by the right health care professionals. Don’t assume anything.

E ducate yourself about your illness. Learn about the medical tests you get, and your treatment plan.

A sk a trusted family member or friend to be your advocate (advisor or supporter).

K now what medicines you take and why you take them. Medicine errors are the most common health care mistakes.

U se a hospital, clinic, surgery center or other type of health care organization that has been carefully checked out. For example, The Joint Commission visits hospitals to see if they are meeting The Joint Commission’s quality standards.

P articipate in all decisions about your treatment. You are the center of the health care team.


Visit: to learn more.