PSAW Tip of the Day: Clear Communication Equals Safer Care

We hope you are taking the time to acknowledge Patient Safety Awareness Week at your facility! Remember you still have time to register for today's DoD PSP Learning Circle "MHS Journey to High Reliability Healthcare" at 1pm ET:

Today’s topic is communication. Clear, concise communications impacts every aspect of medical treatment and successful patient and provider interaction.

For patients: Everyone wants help with their health information. You are not alone if you find things confusing at times. Asking questions helps you understand how to get better and stay well. AskMe3™ is a simple program to promote communication between health care providers and patients. Patients should ask their provider/care team three questions:

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


If you still don’t understand, don’t worry. Let your provider/care team know, and ask them to explain it again. This will leave you better informed, and therefore, better equipped to address any treatment plan they provide. Visit our materials page for a print version of the AskMe3 reference poster: (

For providers: A check-back is a useful TeamSTEPPS tool for information exchange. A check-back is a three-step, closed-loop communication exchange between two members of the care team. The steps include:

  • Sender initiates a message: “Give 25 mg of Benadryl IV push.”
  • Receiver accepts message, approves feedback confirmation: “Let me confirm that. 25 mg Benadryl IV push.”
  • Sender verifies message was received: “That’s correct.”

Interested in learning about more TeamSTEPPS? Visit (

Want to bolster your patient safety skillset? Test your patient safety IQ with a new question daily at (

Visit the DoD PSP events calendar at ( to find information on scheduled trainings, learning circles and other patient safety activities.

Do you work in an MTF? Tell us what you’re doing for PSAW via or via Facebook: