ASK - where do these questions come from?

WHERE do these questions come from?

These 3 questions were developed by a team of people in Australia from a West Australian consumer advocacy program (Patient First Program), and a consumer health advice book Smart Health Choices* ( They are designed to prompt health professionals to provide information health consumers and patients need to make an informed choice between treatment options.

You may be thinking: “Why these questions?”, and “How do we know they work?”. In fact, a few years ago when these questions were first suggested and talked about on Radio National, a listener emailed the program and asked just that.

So in an effort to find out if the questions do work, we trained actors to sometimes ask, and sometimes not to ask, these questions of a large group of GPs. We found that when asked these questions, GPs gave better information about treatment options to the actor/patients and also encouraged the actor/patients to be more involved in the conversations they were having.

You can read about the study here **

*   Irwig L, Irwig J, Trevena L, Sweet M. Smart health choices, Rev. and updated edition, London: Hammersmith Press; 2008, 256 p.

** Shepherd HL, et al. Three questions that patients can ask to improve the quality of information physicians give about treatment options: A cross-over trial. Patient Educ Couns (2011), doi:10.1016/j.pec.2011.07.022