Facts about Speak Up™ initiatives | Joint Commission
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Facts about Speak Up™ Initiatives

March 2, 2015

The Joint Commission’s award winning Speak Up™ program urges patients to take an active role in preventing health care errors by becoming involved and informed participants on their health care team. The Speak Up program encourages consumers to:

Speak up if you have questions or concerns. If you still don’t understand, ask again. It’s your body and you have a right to know.

Pay attention to the care you get. Always make sure you’re getting the right treatments and medicines by the right health care professionals. Don’t assume anything.

Educate yourself about your illness. Learn about the medical tests you get, and your treatment plan.

Ask a trusted family member or friend to be your advocate (advisor or supporter).

Know what medicines you take and why you take them. Medicine errors are the most common health care mistakes.

Use a hospital, clinic, surgery center, or other type of health care organization that has been carefully checked out. For example, The Joint Commission visits hospitals to see if they are meeting The Joint Commission’s quality standards.

Participate in all decisions about your treatment. You are the center of the health care team.

First launched in March 2002 as a print campaign together with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, the Speak Up program features free infographics, posters, animated videos and brochures.

  • In 2014, the brochure format was changed to an infographic format. New campaigns will be published as an infographic, while older brochures will remain on the website and still be available to download and use.
  • The animated Speak Up™ videos are entertaining 60-second public service announcements air on The Joint Commission’s YouTube channel, website, and in other venues, such as closed circuit television.

How to get Speak Up materials

  • There are NO copyright or reprinting permissions required for the Speak Up materials or copy. Organizations can download and print as many infographics or brochures as they would like.
  • The brochures include a blank panel for organizations to insert their own patient safety information, logo and contact information. If you do this, please credit The Joint Commission as the source for the materials or copy. Organizations can add their address or logo to the Speak Up infographics or brochures as long as The Joint Commission logo is not moved or changed.
  • Free downloadable copies of the Speak Up videos are available in both English and Spanish for use on closed circuit television and other uses. To download the videos, fill out a short questionnaire and agree to the terms of use. An FTP site provides two types of files: 1) high resolution .mov files and 2) lower resolution .flv files. Transcripts are also available. In 2015, new videos will be available for easy download directly from The Joint Commission website (via DropBox).
  • Speak Up materials can be purchased from Joint Commission Resources. To order call 1-877-223-6866, or visit the JCR Web Store.

Note: Speak Up materials can be used with certain for-sale products, as long as special conditions are met (including no cost to the end user) and permission is obtained. Contact Caron Wong for more information.

All Speak Up brochures, infographics and videos are available in English and Spanish. The copy can be translated into other languages by using the text and artwork files provided on the website. We ask that:

  • The overall look and feel of the brochure be maintained
  • The Joint Commission logo be used in the same format
  • The Joint Commission be credited

If you have any questions, we will gladly review the finished design. Email files to Pamela Schumacher.

The success of Speak Up
In a survey conducted in 2014, 86 percent of 1,600 respondents want The Joint Commission to sponsor more campaigns; 80 percent were very likely or somewhat likely to recommend the program to a colleague; and 62 percent said the information empowers and educates patients and makes them a partner in their care.

Organizations use Speak Up information in a variety of ways:

  • More than 67 percent use Speak Up information in patient, client or resident educational materials
  • Nearly 50 percent use the information for staff education

In addition, the information is used for public service announcements; websites and community newsletters; health fairs; closed circuit patient education television; and staff orientation.

The popular videos have been downloaded by organizations in more than 70 countries and territories, including: Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Germany, Finland, France, India, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Singapore, South Africa, Thailand, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, and Vietnam.