More hospitals are embracing the concept of patient empowerment -- also promoted by the Joint Commission's Speak Up program -- that urges people to speak up and ask questions if they have concerns or questions about their medical treatment or care. Dr. Steve Lowenthal, chief medical officer at Rush-Copley Medical Center in Aurora, Ill., says when a patient questions a medication order it promotes safety because it "allows the provider to step back, take some time and think about what they're doing."

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