Since you are, no doubt, a health conscious visitor to EmpowHER, you just might be someone who has a television on while you exercise at home or at the gym. For me, I watch cable TV news during these early morning sessions, and I was pleased to see singing patients and dancing doctors this morning. It’s part of a government campaign to get all of us to be more proactive healthcare consumers and, by asking questions, reduce the chance of medical mistakes.
Medical errors are a huge problem. The Agency for Healthcare Research Quality says medical mistakes in the U.S. lead to tens of thousands of deaths each year. A few years ago a study pegged it at almost 100,000!
The idea behind the television spots is to get each of us to ask questions of doctors, nurses and technicians like: What is this test for? How many of these procedures have you done? Did you wash your hands? Why am I being given a green pill when I usually take one that is yellow? Medical professionals make mistakes and you could be the loser. Your question could catch a mistake before it happens.
Of course, trying to get us to be “powerful patients” is nothing new. What is new is taking an entertaining approach to get us take the message to heart. It really is fun to watch patients in hospital gowns and nurses with stethoscopes dance around a hospital ward and a clinic.Take a look at the ad campaign here: http://goo.gl/hfO1F
Also, not too long ago, I interviewed Dr. Carolyn Clancy, who runs this government agency, on how to prevent medical mistakes. You can listen to the Patient Power podcast here: http://goo.gl/6QYQ1 Dr. Clancy is a bright light for preventing medical mistakes and her message is one each of us should heed so we, and the people we love, don’t become the victim of a medical error that could be life changing or life ending.
If singing patients and dancing doctors get the job done I am all for it. Yay for Carolyn for signing off on this approach. It makes my morning workout more fun!
About the author: Andrew Schorr is a medical journalist, cancer survivor and founder of Patient Power, a one-of-a-kind company dedicated to bringing in-depth information to patients with cancer and chronic illness. Audio and video programs, as well as transcripts, help patients make informed decisions to support their health in partnership with their medical team. Patient Power is at www.PatientPower.info and on Facebook. Schorr is also the author of “The Web Savvy Patient: An Insider's Guide to Navigating the Internet When Facing Medical Crisis." http://www.websavvypatient.com/
Edited by Jody Smith