“SPEAK UP” Program

Help Prevent Errors in Your Care

Everyone has a role in making healthcare safe — physicians, healthcare executives, nurses and technicians. Health care organizations across the country are working to make healthcare safety a priority. You, as the patient, can also play a vital role in making your care safe by becoming an active, invloved and informed member of your healthcare team.

The “Speak Up” Program, sponsored by the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organzations (JCAHO), urges patients to get involved in their care. Such efforts to increase consumer awareness and involvement are supported by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. This initiative provides simple advice on how you, as the patient, can make your care a postive experience. After all, research shows that patients who take part in decisions about their healthcare are more likely to have better outcomes. 

Speak up if you have questions or concerns, and if you don’t understand, ask again. It’s your body and you have a right to know. 

Pay attention to the care you are receiving. Make sure you’re getting the right treatments and medications by the right healthcare professionals. Don’t assume anything. 

Educate yourself about your diagnosis, the medical tests you are undergoing and your treatment plan.

Ask a trusted family member or friend to be your advocate.

Know what medications you take and why you take them. Medication errors are the most common healthcare mistake.

Use a hospital, clinic, surgery center or other type of healthcare organization that has undergone a rigorous on-site evaluation against established, state-of-the-art quality and safety standards, such as that provided by JCAHO.

Participate in all decisions about your treatment. You are the center of the healthcare team.