Modern medicine is extremely complex, and even when deliberate negligence by a doctor or other healthcare provider is not a factor, there is still the risk, however small, of something going wrong in even relatively simple treatments. There is, however, a way to reduce this risk and improve the quality of your treatment in the process. Oh, and best of all, it is absolutely free, safe, effective, and chances are you already know how to do it.
The secret to easily improving healthcare and minimizing risk of an error in treatment, according to the US Department of Health and Human Services’ Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), is simply asking questions. You’ve probably been in to see a doctor at one point and he or she barely spends any time with you because he or she is incredibly busy. Imagine trying to keep track of all the different patients that they see on a given day! As in all aspects of everyday life, communication is key, yet according to AHRQ more questions are asked when ordering a meal than in the doctor’s office! Questions like “How many times have you done this procedure?”, “What are the possible complications?”, and “How do you spell the name of that drug?” and more are all important things to ask, but even more can be done.
In addition to the AHRQ’s Ten Questions You Should Know, the agency recommends in general being involved with healthcare, not just as what could be considered an idle customer; even things that don’t require a lot of thinking such as asking hospital workers that you come into contact with if they have washed their hands or double-checking that the pharmacy gave you the correct medication are important steps to ensuring you are getting the best treatment and have the lowest possible risk of an error or injury, infection, or other negative result. The best way to treat the effects of medical malpractice, after all, is preventing it from happening in the first place. We all have an innate curiosity; sating it with knowledge about your healthcare treatments may even save your life in addition to minimizing other adverse effects.