Adult Day

What You Can Do To Make Health Care Safer

Medical care is often miraculous. New medical treatments and cures are achieved every day and new technologies and medications continue to be available. Your body and your condition can be very complicated. Today’s system of care is also very complex. Our health care processes and systems are generally very safe, but accidents do happen and perfect outcomes aren’t always achieved. Whether you’re a health consumer at home or a patient in the hospital, your safety is the major goal for everyone.

Ottumwa Regional Health Center incorporates the goals of the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Health Care Organizations and the National Patient Safety Foundation which promote patient safety. The following suggestions provide a number of things you can do, to help make your health care experience safer.


  • Seek information about illnesses or conditions that affect you. Read about options and alternative treatment plans.
  • Choose a doctor, clinic, pharmacy and hospital experienced in the type of care you require.  View our physician directory.
  • Ask questions of your doctor, nurse, pharmacist, or health insurance company.
  • Seek more than one opinion. Consult with specialists, if indicated.
  • Speak with others who have undergone the procedure you are considering.
  • Hospital Compare
  • Health Grades


  • Write down your medical history, including any medical conditions you have, illnesses, immunizations, allergies, hospitalizations, all medications and dietary supplements you’re taking, and any reactions or sensitivities you’ve had.
  • Write down the names and phone numbers of your doctors, clinics, and pharmacies for quick and easy reference.


  •  Make sure your caregivers introduce themselves and confirm your identity(ask your name and date of birth, check your wristband, or chart).
  • Keep copies of your medical records from previous hospitalizations and share them.
  • Share your health history with your care team.
  • Share up-to-date information about your care with everyone who is treating you.
  • Make sure you understand the care and treatment you’ll be receiving and purpose and side effects of medicines.
  • Pay attention. If something doesn’t seem right, if a medication is now a different color, or in a different amount, or if a routine has changed, call it to the attention of your doctor or health care professional, and verify that it is correct. Make sure your caregivers have washed their hands. Don’t be afraid to remind a doctor or healthcare professional to do this.
  • Discuss any concerns about your safety with your care team. If you are taking multiple medications, ask your doctor or pharmacist if it is safe to take these medications together.


  • If you’re not able to observe or participate fully in your care, ask a friend or family member to assist. They can accompany you on appointments or stay with you, and help you to ask questions, understand all instructions, and communicate your preferences.
  • Review consents for treatment with that friend or family member before you sign them, making sure you both understand exactly what you are agreeing to.


  • Be sure you receive all instructions in writing, and that you can read and understand them, and have them explained verbally.
  • Make sure you can read the handwriting on any prescriptions.
  • Take medications exactly as prescribed.
  • Use home medical equipment and supplies only as instructed.
  • Report anything unusual to your doctor.

Go to QualityCheck to find out whether your hospital or other health care organization is accredited. You can also visit Joint Commission to determine the accreditation.

Visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for more information on health related topics.