AHRQ Questions are the Answer campaign

I often talk about the issue of communications in healthcare. That could be patient to patient, healthplan to patient, pharmacist to patient, or physician to patient (or many more).

Understanding health literacy and personal motivation are critical as are so many other factors. With that in mind, I was glad to see this new campaign from AHRQ.

(Here’s the text they sent me about it.)

“When patients become more actively involved in their own health, there’s a much stronger likelihood their health outcomes will be better.

That’s why “Questions are the Answer,” a new public education initiative from the U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), encourages patients to have more effective two-way communication with their doctors and other clinicians.

“Questions are the Answer” features a website — http://www.ahrq.gov/questions — where you will find these free educational tools to use with your patients:

· A 7-minute video featuring real-life patients and clinicians who give firsthand accounts on 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.

Clinicians can request a free supply of these materials by calling AHRQ at 1-800-358-9295 or sending an email to AHRQpubs@ahrq.hhs.gov.”

All of this is good information, BUT:

  • Do physicians have time for this and are they prepared for these dialogues in plain language and with handouts and URLs they recommend?
  • Are patient’s prepared to slow their physicians down and make sure they explain everything?
  • Will this get measured at some point as a qualitative metric and correlated to outcomes?
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