Culture surveys are gaining ground

July 10, 2014    |   By: Calevir

SOPS Rings_webCulture surveys are gaining ground and the results are encouraging.

Each year, we see more and more healthcare organizations come to the Center for Patient Safety for culture surveying services. Our services include response reports that analyze the culture at the organizational level as well as the unit level (where applicable).   This allows for analysis at the sub-culture level which undoubtedly exists within every unit and contributes to the organization’s overall culture. Each unit receives their own culture analysis that includes direct access to resources to assist unit managers and human resources implement improvements.   Additionally, survey administration from the Center includes two survey cycles in order to obtain a baseline and follow-up.   In 2013, the Center administered the AHRQ Survey on Patient Safety (SOPS) to thousands of healthcare staff in more than 60 hospitals and provided hundreds of unit-level response rate reports.

The Results

From 2012 to 2013, hospitals participating with the Center that were actively involved in patient safety efforts and implemented changes based on their baseline survey analysis saw positive changes. These changes related to improvements in teamwork, communication and implementation of a “just” culture. Overall, the Center for Patient Safety saw improvements that included:

  • Scores on 34 of 42 questions showed improvement
  • Scores on 11 of 12 dimensions showed improvement
  • On the follow-up survey, eighteen questions answered by survey respondents were, on average, higher than the national average, compared to only seven questions at baseline
  • Dimension improvement: The greatest improvement was noted in the survey dimension “Nonpunitive Response to Error”
  • Question improvement:   The greatest improvement was noted in response to the question “Staff feel like their mistakes are held against them”

These results show the positive impact that programs like Just Culture, CUSP, and PSOs are having on healthcare organizations.   As organizations continue to encourage the reporting of adverse events and mistakes, a more rapid identification of lessons learned can occur.   The Center’s federal designation as a Patient Safety Organization (PSO) contributes to the learning and sharing from reported events.

Find out how the Center can assist by administering a culture survey at your healthcare organization.


PSO Case Law: Ungurian v. Beyzman, et al., 2020 PA Super 105:

A recent Pennsylvania case shows how courts narrowly interpret the PSQIA, ignoring the D & A pathway and the clear language of the Final Rule. (Ungurian v. Beyzman, et al., 2020 PA Super 105). The cour

Joint Commission New Sentinel Event Alert 61: Managing the Risks of Direct Oral Anticoagulants:

The Center for Patient Safety wants to share this important harm-prevention advice from The Joint Commission and its Sentinel Event Alert: Managing the Risks of Direct Oral Anticoagulants. The Joint Commis

CPS Safety Watch/Alert – Culture Can Improve the Control of Multi-Drug Resistant Organisms:

Issue: A number of events reported co CPS’ Patient Safety Organization (PSO) demonstrate poor handoff communication about the patients’ infectious disease status Examples include: Patient with

Read More


The Center for Patient Safety believes that collaboration and sharing are the best ways to drive improvement. We strive to provide the right solutions and resources to improve healthcare safety and quality.