Become an Informed Healthcare Consumer

The National Patient Safety Foundation suggests that patients take the following steps to help make their healthcare experience a safer one:

  • Seek information about illnesses or conditions that affect you.
  • Research options and possible treatment plans.
  • Choose a doctor, clinic, pharmacy and hospital experienced in the type of care you require. To find a physician at Spring Valley Hospital Medical Center, call our free physician referral service at 702-388-4888.
  • Ask questions of your doctor, nurse, pharmacist or benefits plan coordinator.
  • Seek more than one opinion.

Keep Track of Your Medical History

  • 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 experienced.
  • Make sure that all of your doctors know about everything you are taking. This includes prescription and over-the-counter medicines, and dietary supplements such as vitamins and herbs.
  • Write down the names and phone numbers of your doctors, clinics and pharmacies for quick and easy references.
  • When your doctor writes you a prescription, make sure you can read it.

Work as a Team

  • Share your health history with your healthcare team.
  • Share up-to-date information about your care with everyone who's treating you.
  • Make sure you understand the care and treatment you'll be receiving. Ask questions if you're not clear on your care.
  • Pay attention. If something doesn't seem right, call it to the attention of your doctor or health care professional.
  • Discuss any concerns about your safety with your health care team.
  • Expect your health care workers to introduce themselves when they enter your room and look for their identification badges.
  • Make sure your nurse or doctor confirms your identity, that is, checks your wristband or asks your name, before he or she administers any medication or treatment.

Involve Family Member or Friends 

  • If you're not able to observe or participate fully in your care, ask a family member or friend to assist. They can accompany you on appointments or stay with you, help you ask questions, understand care instructions and suggest your preferences.
  • Review consents for treatment with your family member or friend before you sign them and make sure you both understand exactly what you are agreeing to.
  • Make sure your family member or friend understands the type of care you will need when you get home. Your family member or friend should know what to look for if your condition is getting worse and whom to call for help.

Your Hospital Stay

  • If you have a choice, choose a hospital at which many patients have the procedure or surgery you need.
  • When in the hospital, ask healthcare workers who have direct contact with you if they have washed their hands.
  • Do not bring valuables.


When you are being discharged from the hospital, ask your doctor to explain the treatment plan you will use at home.


  • If you are having surgery, make sure that you, your doctor, and your surgeon all agree and are clear on exactly what will be done.
  • Be sure you receive all instructions in writing and that you read and understand them. And, have information explained verbally.
  • Take medications exactly as prescribed.
  • Use home medical equipment and supplies only as instructed.
  • Report anything unusual to your doctor.