Newswise — ROCHESTER, Minn. -- Instead of wondering what your doctor wrote in your patient record after a visit, ask him or her to read back the notes to ensure accuracy. It’s one of five simple steps Mayo Clinic suggests doctors and patients take to improve health care quality.

MULTIMEDIA ALERT: For audio and video resources, please visit the Mayo Clinic News Network.

Mayo Clinic defines quality as a comprehensive look at all aspects of a patient’s experience, including: excellent care, the best medical knowledge and experience, access to the best technology, and staff demonstrating kindness and hope. Here are five ways patients and care givers can help achieve it:

*Ask your doctor to read medical notes after a consult. Many Mayo Clinic doctors are part of an increasing trend of sharing clinical notes with their patients to make sure they and their patients are on the same page. Taking a few minutes to do this helps patients feel they are part of their own care and helps ensure they take their medications correctly.

*Use patient apps to improve access. Apps allow patients to get care and information quickly and efficiently. Apps such as the Mayo Clinic Patient App allow patients to book online appointments and offer secure access to personal health information. Others, such as the Mayo Clinic Anxiety app and Mayo Clinic app for dermatitis, give patients tools to tackle medical issues without seeing their health care provider.

*Implement safety tracking systems. One example in the operating room is the sponge surgi-counter, to make sure surgical teams do not accidentally leave a sponge inside a patient. Mayo Clinic uses grocery store-style bar code technology to account for all sponges, to help protect against errors in the operating room.

*Take someone you trust to the hospital/doctor with you. This is a seemingly common sense tactic, but one that isn’t always followed. Another set of ears and eyes will help ensure that a patient’s concerns are addressed and that communication is clear between the doctor and patient.

*Include patient photos in medical records. In addition to name, date of birth and clinic number, the photograph becomes part of each patient’s electronic medical record. It’s one more piece of information to help ensure patient identity. Receptionists, medical staff in exam rooms and other personnel processing tests and exams can verify that the person in front of them matches the photo for the patient file they see on their computer screen.

Mayo Clinic is recognized for high-quality patient care more often than any other academic medical center in the nation. Through its Center for the Science of Health Care Delivery and other efforts, Mayo continually works to improve cost and quality through measures large and small.

The following organizations recognize Mayo Clinic for high levels of quality and safety: U.S. News & World Report Best Hospitals Honor Roll; UHC Quality Leadership Award; The Leapfrog Group Top Hospitals; Leapfrog Hospital Safety Score; ACNN Nursing Magnet status; Consumer Reports hospital safety; The American College of Surgeons and National Surgical Quality Improvement Program.

Mayo Clinic’s model of care is defined by teamwork, with a group of experts focusing their expertise on one patient at a time. The high-quality rankings reinforce Mayo Clinic’s commitment to patient care. Mayo Clinic patients rate their Mayo Clinic experiences very highly. On average, they tell 43 other people positive things about their Mayo Clinic experiences.


About Mayo ClinicMayo Clinic is a nonprofit worldwide leader in medical care, research and education for people from all walks of life. For more information, visit and

Journalists can become a member of the Mayo Clinic News Network for the latest health, science and research news and access to video, audio, text and graphic elements that can be downloaded or embedded.

Register for reporter access to contact details