How can I lower the risk that my doctor will make a mistake?

When you need to go to your health care provider in Hawaii for any reason, you may feel as if you have a passive role in the visit. According to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, this could be a choice that puts your well-being at risk.

At an appointment, communication between yourself and your doctor is key. However, it can also be a challenge to remember everything you need to talk about. Make a list of everything you want to mention, including troubling symptoms, of course, but also past diagnoses and other matters that may or may not be related to the issue at hand. Bring all your medication and supplements with you, as well.

When you get a prescription for a new medication, talk to your pharmacist. Ask about possible drug interactions, common and rare side effects, dosage information and whether you should avoid or limit any particular activities, such as driving or operating heavy machinery. Foods and drinks can also affect how you react to medications.

Why is your participation so important? Research shows that medical mistakes are extremely common in every health care setting, from clinics and doctors’ offices to hospitals and surgery centers. Missed diagnoses, false readings on tests and surgical errors are just some of the many ways that you could sustain severe harm.

Although you cannot ensure the full involvement of every person involved in your care, by being proactive, you may reduce the chances that complications will arise. This information is provided to help you understand some of the potential for medical mistakes and what you can do about it, but it is general in nature, and should not be considered medical or legal advice.