AHRQ Survey on Patient Safety Culture

Client Resources: Hospital or LTC, Pharmacy, Medical Office, ASC

To prevent adverse events from occurring, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality recommends you measure your patient safety culture and work with a federally designated Patient Safety Organization (PSO), like the Center for Patient Safety. Read on to find out more about the Survey on Patient Safety Culture, or find out more about PSOs.

Learn about the Center’s survey administration services!

Learn more about the ARHQ Safety Culture Survey.

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Why Conduct the Survey on Patient Safety Culture?

The safety culture survey provides feedback on your organization's communication, teamwork, patient safety, leadership, and staff engagement.  The results can be used to measure your current culture AND...

  • improve patient safety
  • increase error reporting to learn and reduce future errors
  • increase employee/staff satisfaction
  • increase patient satisfaction
  • improve organizational marketability
  • improve financial stability
  • reduce liability exposure
  • reduce staff turnover
  • reduce liability insurance
  • improve organizational sustainability

The safety culture of an organization is the product of individual and group values, attitudes, perceptions, competencies, and patterns of behavior that determine the commitment to, and the style and proficiency of, an organization's health and safety management.
Organizations with a positive safety culture are characterized by communications founded on mutual trust, by shared perceptions of the importance of safety, and by confidence in the efficacy of preventative measures.

Organising for Safety: Third Report of the ACSNI (Advisory Committee on the Safety of Nuclear Installations) Study Group on Human Factors.
Health and Safety Commission (of Great Britain). Sudbury, England: HSE Books, 1993.
Other Available Tools to Measure Safety Culture

The survey on patient safety culture is one tool, but other methods and measures should be used in conjunction with the survey to attain the greatest level of benefit.  Consider using:

  • focus groups
  • interviews and observations
  • unit level turnover reports
  • patient satisfaction reports
  • employee satisfaction reports
  • data from an internal event reporting system
  • medical record reviews
  • root cause analyses
Why the AHRQ Survey on Patient Safety Culture?

The AHRQ surveys have been exhaustively studied and determined to include quantitative dimension- and item-measurement that is overall psychometrically sound to assess patient safety culture.

Administered in 30 countries and translated into 18 languages, the AHRQ patient safety culture surveys are widespread in use and demonstrate strong acceptance in the healthcare provider community.

AHRQ maintains a national benchmarking database, allowing organizations to see their organization compared to the rest of the databas

Center Involvement

The Center for Patient Safety fully supports this diagnostic tool.

In early 2011, the Center began offering the hospital survey with services to complement our internal programs, initiatives, and collaboratives with hospitals.  We quickly recognized the power of providing results of unit-level survey responses to hospitals in order to better assess the culture at the unit-level.  We proceeded in expanding the survey capabilities beyond the AHRQ limited department selections and now offer customizable services to hospitals to report at the system, region, facility, and/or unit levels.

The Center administers culture surveys for medical staff, nursing homes, pharmacies, home care, and EMS.

Often, the survey can take 30-40 hours of administrative resources to administer. We have reduced the administrative burden to only 1-hour over the course of 8-10 weeks. We know hospitals are currently seeing resources cut, but we also know the importance of assessing safety culture.

Services include:
  • online resources:  survey guidance, tips, standard and customizable and standard marketing templates (emails, posters, flyers), etc
  • online survey with optional paper survey collection
  • survey guide with helpful tips and additional resources
  • one-on-one support we want you to be successful!
  • extensive report: our standard report surpasses every other standard report available - even AHRQ's!  Your report will include dashboards, graphics, prioritized questions and dimensions as well as next steps.
Next steps:
  1. If you are interested in pursuing, please let us know.  We can provide you with a quote and a short agreement for your review.
  2. Once the agreement is signed, we'll work with you to determine the best time to administer the survey and provide you with full access to our online survey resources.
  3. With the survey scheduled, we'll then work together to determine the appropriate groups to survey.  We can provide reports for each department and/or hospital-wide, by clinical or clinical and non-clinical, etc.
Find out how the Center can help you administer the Survey On Patient Safety (SOPS) at your location:

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