What’s New in the Patient Safety World


April 2009         New Patient Safety Culture Assessments



AHRQ has put some new Patient Safety Culture Assessment Tools on its website. The following surveys on patient safety culture are available:


·        Nursing Home Survey on Patient Safety Culture

·        Medical Office Survey on Patient Safety Culture

·        Hospital Survey on Patient Safety Culture


These tools are quite good. Not only do they assess the culture of safety, but they also get you thinking about some of the key patient safety areas you may need to spend more time on.


Speaking of patient safety culture surveys, Press Ganey has released their 2009 report on Safety Culture and it contains some very interesting observations and recommendations. Of the 13 dimensions of safety culture they address, the two areas most in need of improvement are non-punitive response to error and handoffs/transitions.


The perception of safety culture varies greatly by staff position, degree of patient contact, number of hours worked, amount of years in an organization, work area, organization size, and even governance. Management and staff with little patient contact tend to have much higher perceptions of patient safety culture than do front-line workers. Similarly, staff in very complex clinical areas have lower perceptions of safety culture. And new staff have better perceptions than staff who have been employed for longer periods.


The report provides some examples of how specific organizations have been able to use the results of their surveys to improve patient safety culture. Concepts like safety “chats” and “safety coaches” are highlighted. And they stress the importance of continued training in patient safety for all staff, not just at the time of initial orientation. This report is worth reading. It’s clear that Press Ganey uses its survey tools to help organizations actually improve patient safety, not just to make the organizations feel good about it.


And while you are at it, take a look at ECRI Institute’s new programs for physician practice patient safety and risk management. They cover a broad range of topics that will improve the safety of your patients and improve your overall efficiency and probably your bottom line.






AHRQ. Patient Safety Culture Surveys. 2009



Press Ganey. P u l s e R e port 2009®. Safety Culture. Staff Perspectives on American Health Care. 2009



ECRI Institute. Patient Safety, Risk Assessment and Management 













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