As patients, we place our faith and trust in the hands of doctors and other medical professionals to provide us with the care and treatment they deem necessary for our well-being. The fact is that doctors make mistakes, as evidenced by the nearly 100,000 patients that die each year by preventable medical errors. Because medical errors occur at an alarming rate, our top medical malpractice lawyers recommend patients do everything within their control to keep them from falling victim — by staying as fully informed about their condition and treatment as possible.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services estimates that only 12 percent of American adults have sufficient health literacy to participate in their own care. Similarly, MedTera, a marketing company for the health care industry, found that 54 percent of patients left their doctor’s offices without the basic information they thought was needed to manage their illnesses when they returned home.
How can patients get the information they need from their physicians? The National Patient Safety Foundation has a practical suggestion for patients visiting their doctor’s office. Called the “Ask Me 3”system, it simply reminds patients to ask their doctors three straightforward, common-sense questions before leaving the office:
1. What is my main problem?
2. What can I do about it?
3. Why is it important to do this?
The goal of the Ask Me 3 system is to facilitate and promote communication between patients and their doctors — something that our medical malpractice lawyers know occurs far too rarely.
This goal has real-world, practical consequences. Studies have shown that when a patient understands her condition and her health instructions, she will have a better outcome. We encourage physician’s offices and hospitals to begin to take patient health literacy seriously – to go beyond simply handing patients a piece of paper.
For a free consultation with an experienced Chicago doctor negligence lawyer at Passen & Powell, call us at (312) 527-4500.