June 12, 2013

Encouraging Patients to Ask QuestionsHow to Overcome “White-Coat Silence”

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliations: Division of Outcomes and Effectiveness Research, Department of Public Health, and Department of Medicine (Dr Press), Weill Cornell Medical College (Mr Judson), New York, New York; Institute of Health Policy, Management and Evaluation and Department of Medicine, University of Toronto (Dr Detsky); Department of Medicine, Mount Sinai Hospital and University Health Network, Toronto, Ontario, Canada (Dr Detsky).

JAMA. 2013;309(22):2325-2326. doi:10.1001/jama.2013.5797

The focus of an ongoing effort in health care quality improvement is to encourage patients to ask questions during their care. In September 2011, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) launched the Questions Are the Answer campaign (Table) and has used $20 million of donated marketing outreach toward building patient engagement through asking questions (Farah Englert, AHRQ, November 15, 2012, written communication). In 2002, the Joint Commission created Speak Up, an initiative that promotes patient involvement in care and emphasizes the importance of asking questions (Table).

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