Encourage Patients to “Speak Up

The Joint Commission’s “Speak Up” campaign urges patients to take an active role in preventing errors by becoming more involved in and informed about their healthcare. The campaign encourages patients to:

  • Speak up if you have questions or concerns. If you still don’t understand, ask again. Do not worry about being embarrassed.
  • Pay attention to the care you get. Always make sure you get the right treatments and medications by the right healthcare professionals. Don’t assume anything.
  • Educate yourself about your illness. Learn about the medical tests you will get. Learn about your care plan.
  • Ask a trusted family member or friend to be your advocate (adviser or supporter). Your advocate should be someone who communicates well and can work collaboratively with your physician.
  • Know what medicines you take. Know why you take them. Medicine errors are the most common healthcare mistakes.
  • Use an ambulatory care center, surgery center, office-based surgery practice, imaging center, or other type of healthcare organization that has been carefully checked out. Ask your physician which facility is preferred and go to Quality Check at www.qualitycheck.org to find out if the organization is “accredited.”   
  • Participate in all decisions about your treatment. You and your physician should always agree on exactly what is being done.

Encourage your patients to “Speak Up” so that they can make informed healthcare decisions. You can purchase patient education materials on this topic by calling (877) 223-6866 or visiting The Joint Commission’s website at www.jointcommission.org/topics/speakup_brochures.aspx.


The guidelines suggested here are not rules, do not constitute legal advice, and do not ensure a successful outcome. The ultimate decision regarding the appropriateness of any treatment must be made by each healthcare provider in light of all circumstances prevailing in the individual situation and in accordance with the laws of the jurisdiction in which the care is rendered.

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