- Ask Me 3
Ask Me 3 is an easy, effective tool that is designed to improve and enhance health communication between patients and health care providers. Ask Me 3 is developed by leaders in the health literacy field and it promotes three simple but imperative questions that patients should ask their health care providers in every health care interaction. Providers should always encourage and remind their patients to ask the following three questions – The Ask Me 3 questions are:
"'1. What is my main problem?
2. What do I need to do?
3. Why is it important for me to do this?
The Ask Me 3 program offers a variety of materials available in both English and Spanish, including brochures, posters and a Web site about health literacy, customized for patients, providers, and organizations
What research supports the use of Ask Me 3?
The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio conducted a study that measured the results of implementation of Ask Me 3 in a children’s health center serving a predominantly low-income Hispanic client base. The health center employed a simple implementation strategy that included hanging posters and making brochures available. The study found that even after many months of initiating the program, about half of the 393 parents surveyed knew about Ask Me 3 and of those, half asked the Ask Me 3 questions during visits with their child’s health care providers. Additionally, in-depth interviews pointed out that the Ask Me 3 program encouraged parents to remember to ask questions. More importantly, the Ask Me 3 program helped parents remember what questions they should ask.
The American Academy of Family Physicians conducted a separate study. According to this study, 21 physicians who implemented the Ask Me 3 program (the intervention group) reported higher levels of visit satisfaction than the 17 physicians in the control group that practiced standard care. More than half (52 percent) of the intervention physicians claimed that their own communication with patients would improve when their patients asked at least one of the Ask Me 3 questions. Furthermore, the study indicated that two-thirds (65 percent) of the 443 patients who used the Ask Me 3 program believed that as a result of the program, their communication with their providers had improved.
In both the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio study and the American Academy of Family Physicians study, the time spent in the health care provider’s office did not increase when Ask Me 3 was practiced.
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