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With more and more people heading to the doctor, it’s a good time to remember that people who are more involved with their care tend to get better results. You should expect safe care for your family, but you can also play an active role in ensuring safer care. Whether you are headed to the hospital, the doctor’s office or getting an X-ray, here are some important things to keep in mind.

Plan ahead. Going to the doctor can be nerve wracking. Add having a toddler in tow, it can be especially challenging to remember all the information that might be important in a health care visit. Planning ahead can help. For example, keep and bring a list of all the medicines and supplements your child is taking, as well as a medical history that includes vaccinations, allergies, current health problems, etc.

Speak up! It’s important to ask questions if you have doubts or concerns. Though going to the doctor can be, for some, intimidating, it’s good to speak up early and often. Make a list in advance and don’t be afraid to ask all your questions. Here are a few examples to get your started: What’s my child’s main problem? What do we need to do? Why is it important for us to do this?

Wash your hands. Especially with one of the worst flu seasons on record just behind us, clean hands are an important key to staying healthy. In fact, hand hygiene is one of the most important ways to prevent the spread of infections. This is a good way for you and your family to play a role in staying healthy. Also, remember that it’s OK to remind or ask health care providers about hand hygiene.

Planning ahead, asking questions and taking an active role will help ensure you and your family get the best results. Everyone has a role in safer health care.

Donna Kusuda is chairperson of Think About It Colorado, a nonprofit that provides consumers and health care providers with tools and resources for safer health care.