Not long ago, I got to think back on my roles as hospital safety officer and incorporate some of the challenges I faced with my current work leveraging technologies to improve the patient engagement.  The result was a iHealthBeat Perspectives article.

In the article I present how techniques of TeamSTEPPS and other safety initiatives ( SpeakUP, Ask Me 3, etc) can leverage technologies to improve patient safety -- especially for the estimated 77 million people in the US with a poor understanding of basic medical vocabulary and health care concepts.  These are the individuals who are most at risk for re-admissions or poor outcomes.

Just after the article was published, an AHRQ representative provided me with information on another initiative - designed to improve communication between patients and clinicians to help make health care safer and lead to improved outcomes.  Questions are the Answer offers free tools for patients and their clinicians, including:

  •  A 7-minute video featuring patients and clinicians who discuss the importance of asking questions and sharing information – this tool is ideal for a patient waiting room area and can be set to run on a continuous loop.
  • A brochure, titled "Be More Involved in Your Health Care: Tips for Patients," that offers helpful suggestions to follow before, during and after a medical visit.
  • Notepads to help patients prioritize the top three questions they wish to ask during their medical appointment.

Questions ahrq

A broad mix of medical group practices, hospitals, local health departments, health promotion and disease prevention centers, and insurers are using these materials and have reported their usefulness in helping patients and family caregivers have more effective two-way communication with their clinicians.

Taking a lead from my article, I'd like to see the:

  • notepad in a format that can easily be completed and referenced on a mobile device; rather than a pdf
  • the brochure converted to a widget to take the reader through the learnings and then quiz them on their understanding ... and perhaps offer a checklist.
    • if I could really have what I wanted, each checklist (for each of a patient's appointments) could be uploaded to their health record for easy reference and ...perhaps review by the physician before they walk into the room to greet the patient.

    If you like this post, please read other posts in the series on the Person-Centered HealthCare main page. And if you have a story to tell that may be a fit with our series, please comment below or email me at