So we were pleased to learn of a new public education initiative from the U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), which encourages patients to have more effective two-way communication with their doctors and other clinicians.
The “Questions are the Answer,” campaign features a website packed with helpful advice and free educational tools for doctors and patients. Among the offerings:
- A 7-minute video featuring real-life patients and clinicians who give firsthand accounts on the importance of asking questions and sharing information. The video has been designed for use in a patient waiting room area and can be set to run on a continuous loop
- A brochure, titled “Be More Involved in Your Health Care: Tips for Patients,” that offers helpful suggestions to follow before, during and after a medical visit
- Notepads to help patients prioritize the top three questions they wish to ask during their medical appointment.
In addition, the site has a series of patient and clinician videos in showing how simple questions can help you take better care of yourself, feel better, and get the right care at the right time. In one of these, Rachelle Toman, M.D., Ph.D., a family physician from Washington D.C., says if you are happy to ask your doctor and grocery store clerk a question, then why not your healthcare provider?
“Patients need to come forth with questions, and providers need to be open about asking their patients questions, and asking their patients to ask questions,” she continues.
Put simply, questions allow doctors to take better care of you.
Are you ready to become an active member of your health care team and get your questions answered?