Encouraging Patients to Ask Questions: How to Overcome “White-Coat Silence”


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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