Safety Information for Patients

My Quality Improvement (MyQI)

Learn what you can do before, during, or after your medical appointment to get the best care. Being an active an engaged member of your health care team is important.

How Can I Get the Best Health Care?

Read more to learn how you can be an active and engaged member of your health care team.

video iconLearn about medical errors

learn more icon Tips to avoid medical errors

listen iconTips to prevent health care associated infections


What Can You Do Before You Receive Health Care?

Prepare for your medical visit-be informed about your condition, know your medical history, and know the medications you are take. 

Be informed

To make good decisions about your care, you need to be able to find and understand information about health care services.

listen iconLearn how to be a more informed patient

listen iconLearn how to find reliable online health information


Be prepared for your hospital stay

learn more iconLearn what to do before being admitted


Be prepared for your surgery

video iconGetting ready for surgery


Know your medical history

Your health information—the medicines you're taking, your allergies, your family history, what illnesses or surgeries you have had-is what makes you medically unique, and can affect your treatment. The one thing you forget to mention could be the detail that might save your life.

One way to keep track of your medical history is to create a personal medical record that keeps all of your medical information in one place.

learn more iconLearn about personal medical records

toolkit iconUse this tool to create your own personal medical record


Know your medications

It's important for you to know the medications you take. Take a list or a bag with your medicines when you visit the doctor, pharmacy, or hospital. It's important your health care provider knows which drugs you take and that it's safe to take them together. Be sure you understand your medications by talking with your doctor or pharmacist. Make sure you know any side effects and interactions with other drugs for any medications you are taking.

toolkit iconUse this pill card to be prepared for your next medical visit.

learn more iconTips for taking medications safely

listen iconTips for make sure you get the right medicine

toolkit iconUse this guide to make sure you understand your medications.


What Can You Do During Your Medical Visit?

The most important thing you can do to get good care is to talk. Talk to your doctor, talk to your nurse, and talk to other health care workers. It's also a great idea to repeat any instructions you receive back to the doctor, just to make sure you understand. 

Ask questions

Ask questions and make sure you understand the answers. Patients who ask questions get better quality health care and can get better results.

learn more icon Tips on how to communicate with your provider

learn more iconLearn the right questions to ask

toolkit iconbuild your own list of questions to take with you


Bring someone with you

Almost half of all adults have some difficulty understanding health information, and in the doctor's office you may not remember or understand everything. Try bringing someone with you to the doctor's office or the hospital to help ask question or take notes.

listen iconListen to this podcast on when a medical advocate might be helpful


What Can You Do After Your Medical Visit, Hospital Stay, or Surgery?

After a medical visit, hospital stay or surgery, there are lots of things you need to do to take good care of yourself. Make sure you understand the next steps after any medical visit. 

After a hospital stay

toolkit iconUse this guide to make sure you are prepared to go home after a hospital visit

video iconWatch this video to make sure you are prepared to leave the hospital


After surgery

learn more iconLearn what to do after your surgery

learn more iconLearn about pain management after surgery


¿Cómo Puedo Encontrar Información en Español

learn more icon 20 recomendaciones para ayudar a prevenir los errores médicos

toolkit iconCómo cuidarme: Guía para cuando salga del hospital

learn more iconConsejos para cuando necesite pruebas médicas

learn more icon Consejos para cuando necesite una receta médica

learn more iconNo se arriesgue con sus medicamentos

learn more iconConsejos para cuando necesite operarse

learn more icon ¿Va a tener una cirugía? Lo que usted necesita saber

listen iconPreguntas para su médico


Page last reviewed September 2017
Page originally created March 2013
Internet Citation: Safety Information for Patients. Content last reviewed September 2017. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD.