In March 2002, The Joint Commission, together with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, launched a national campaign to urge patients to take a role in preventing healthcare errors by becoming active, involved, and informed participants on the healthcare team. The Speak Up Program encourages the public to:
- Speak up if you have questions or concerns, and if you don’t understand, ask again. It’s your body, and you have the right to know.
- Pay attention to the care you are receiving. Make sure you’re getting the correct treatments and medications by the appropriate 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 issues.
- Use a hospital, clinic, surgery center, or other type of healthcare organization that has achieved accreditation or credentials from a major certification organization, such as The Joint Commission.
- Participate in all decisions about your treatment. You are the main component of your healthcare team.