Ask Me 3™ — A program from the National Patient Safety Foundation

Picture of doctor and patient for patient safety article

Studies show that if you understand health instructions, you may make fewer mistakes when taking your medicine or preparing for a medical procedure. You may also get well sooner or be able to better take care of your health conditions.

When you visit your doctor, ask these three simple and important questions:

  • What is my main problem?
  • What do I need to do?
  • Why is it important for me to do this?

Your healthcare provider can help you understand the answers to these questions. If you still don’t understand, you can talk to another healthcare provider to help you understand.

The video provides an example of a patient speaking to his doctor about his condition. It shows the patient and his daughter using the Ask Me 3 program, asking the three questions.

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Be an active member of your own healthcare team. Consider the following tips: Write down questions for your healthcare provider before your visit, and be sure to ask them during the visit. Bring a “health history” list with you, and keep it up to date …

Not being able to understand healthcare information affects more people in the U.S. than diabetes, obesity, HIV/AIDS, and breast cancer combined. Imagine needing healthcare in another country where they speak a language you don’t understand …