Ten Questions Patients Should Ask

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Ten Questions Patients Should Ask

Answers can reveal as much as testing

By Elizabeth Hanink, RN, BSN, PHN
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The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, an entity with the Department of Health and Human Services, has announced a new initiative on patient-clinician communication. Partnering with the Ad Council, and building on a decade-long effort, the agency hopes to encourage better outcomes and safer care.

 “Questions are the Answer” is the continuing theme, and the current installment features new videos with patients telling how questions helped them receive the correct diagnosis and avoid medication errors. The agency wants clinicians to understand that a simple question may reveal as much as a test, and that, even with limited time, answering patient questions should be a priority.

The effort includes a list of 10 questions for patients to ask at appointments and assures patients that questions are welcomed. It suggests that patient prepare for their appointments with a list of questions important to them, such as:


1. What is the test for?

2. How many times have you done this procedure?

3. When will I get the results?

4. Is there any alternative?

5. Why do I need this treatment?

6. What are the possible complications?

7. Which hospital is best for my needs?

8. What are the side effects to this medication?

9. How do you spell the name of that drug?

10. Will this interact with anything I am already taking?


The ads will run in multiple medical and nursing journals. The effort includes interactive media and an offer of specially-designed notepads that can be co-branded and serve to guide the patient in listing the three top questions they wish to discuss. For further information, please visit www.ahrq.gov/questions.

This article is from workingnurse.com.

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