It happens to everyone: you go to the doctor intending to ask a question and then forget to do it. Sometimes it's nerves; sometimes something else comes up in those 20 minutes or so, and by the time you realize you've forgotten, you are halfway home.
Now there's a free app to remind you to ask those questions . All you have to do is remember to bring along your tablet or smartphone and turn it on.
The app, called QuestionBuilder, was designed by The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), an organization within the United States Department of Health & Human Services.
“Patients can get better care by preparing to ask questions about their care and communicating effectively with their doctors, nurses, and other providers.”
Those worried about the privacy of their medical information will be glad to know that QuestionBuilder does not keep any data within the app; it stores it in your device's memory. If you send this information in an email or store it on your calendar, however, the provider of those services is likely to have a copy of the information.
“Patients can get better care by preparing to ask questions about their care and communicating effectively with their doctors, nurses, and other providers,” the director of AHRQ’s Center for Quality Improvement and Patient Safety, Jeff Brady, said in a statement. “Asking questions to make sure patients understand instructions and other aspects of their care can help reduce the chance of missed diagnoses, identify the right tests that are needed, and avoid unnecessary hospital stays,” he explained.
QuestionBuilder is available for both Apple and Android devices. People who don't have a tablet or smartphone can use the app online. Those who consider this too high tech a solution for such a simple problem can always take a written or printed list of their questions along on their next doctor visit.
An article on QuestionBuilder appears in JAMA.