Patient Rights & Responsibilities


As a patient utilizing Northwestern University Health Service, you have fundamental rights, choices and responsibilities to ensure you receive quality healthcare. This information  is intended to help educate our patients with respect to these rights and responsibilities. Also included is information on how to communicate comments, grievances, suggestions as well as compliments whenever you feel it is appropriate.

The Health Service has numerous mechanisms by which you may provide feedback on the quality of service you receive. All comments and criticisms are ultimately reviewed by the Executive Director of the Health Service resulting in a formal response whenever requested by a patient. The entire staff of the Health Service is committed to providing the best healthcare possible, and we urge you to communicate problems when they occur.

Information About Services

We strongly encourage you to become familiar with the information on the Health Service/Evanston Web site as it contains all the knowledge necessary to effectively utilize the Health Service including important policy information.

Responding to Your Healthcare

No catalogue of rights can guarantee, in itself, the kind of treatment for the patient that s/he has a right to expect. A medical facility has many functions to perform, including the prevention and treatment of disease, the education of both health professionals and patients, and the conduct of clinical research. Nonetheless, all of these activities must be conducted with an overriding concern for the patient and above all, the recognition of his/her dignity as a human being.

Throughout the Health Service, you will find comment cards that you may fill out as a way to give us feedback on utilizing our services. You have the option of deciding whether or not you wish to be anonymous or request a response. These cards are regularly reviewed by the Executive Director as well as the NUHS Executive Committee. Additionally, there is a Web-based comment card. If the problem you are experiencing seems inappropriate for a comment card, you may wish to utilize our grievance procedure.

Periodically, we will survey student opinion with respect to the operation of key departments of the Health Service as part of our quality assurance program. These assessments help us analyze the effectiveness of certain departments and services. We greatly appreciate your responding to the Patient Satisfaction and Learning Inventory and other surveys should you be selected to participate.

Filing a Grievance

If you should experience a problem with a member of staff or difficulty in using our services, there are several courses of action you may elect to take instead of filling out a comment card.

If the problem is related to your healthcare, please attempt to discuss your concerns with the healthcare practitioner with whom you have been working. You may also request to be referred to the staff member's supervisor or department head (e.g. Director of Clinical Practice Services, Medical Director, etc.).  Additionally, you may be interested in sharing your concerns with the Patient Advocacy Coordinator in Patient Support Services.

There may be times when a problem should be brought to the attention of the Executive Director of the Health Service. Please call 847 491-2123 or visit Health Service Administration on the 1st floor (room 1.118) of the Health Service to request an appointment with the Executive Director to discuss your concerns. If this type of incident involves medical care you received while a patient here, the Executive Director will want to review your medical record and any other documentation you may want to provide to clarify the matter. Most problems can be resolved via discussion with the Executive Director.

There may be situations when it is appropriate that a grievance should be shared with the Executive Committee of the Health Service. This determination will be made by the Executive Director who also acts as chairperson of this committee. The membership of the Executive Committee consists of the key department heads of the Health Service.

Some serious grievances may be referred to and reviewed by the University Advisory Committee on Health Services. The ultimate decision for a grievance that cannot be resolved within the scope of the areas previously noted will be determined by the Vice President for Student Affairs.

Regardless of how you voice your concerns about your experiences at the Health Service, you are entitled to a review of and response to your concerns. The Executive Director of the Health Service is committed to investigating and responding to any issues related to the healthcare system for our students. We will make every reasonable effort to resolve any problems you may experience with utilizing your healthcare system and improving deficient areas wherever possible. Any questions concerning this policy should be directed to Health Service Administration at 847.491.2123.

Summary of Basic Patient Rights and Responsibilities

As one of our patients, you have choices, rights and responsibilities.

You have the RIGHT:

  • to be treated with dignity and respect.
  • to know the names and professional status of people serving you.
  • to select and/or change your healthcare provider.
  • to privacy.
  • to confidentiality of your records.
  • **to receive accurate information about your health-related concerns, including diagnosis, treatment and prognosis.
  • **to have explained in layman's language any proposed treatment's effectiveness, side effects, adverse outcomes, and reasonable alternatives as well as possible consequences of refusing treatment.
  • to participate in making healthcare decisions for yourself, including giving informed consent to, or refusal of, any care or treatment.
  • **to refuse to participate in any experimental research.
  • to provide the Health Service with advance directives or living wills.
  • to receive education and counseling.
  • to review your medical records with a clinician.
  • **to information about services and any related costs.

** Excepted where limited or altered by law.

You also have the RESPONSIBILITY:

  • to seek medical attention promptly.
  • to be honest about your medical history.
  • to ask about anything you do not understand.
  • to follow health advice and medical instructions.
  • to arrange adequate transportation to and from medical care.
  • to arrange appropriate care after medical discharge.
  • to report any significant changes in symptoms or failure to improve.
  • to respect clinic keep appointments or cancel in advance.
  • to seek non-emergency care during regular business hours.
  • to provide useful feedback about services and policies.
When you have questions...ASK
When you have problems...SPEAK UP
When you are satisfied...COMPLIMENT