Patient Safety Culture Surveys

Developing a culture of safety is a core element of hospital efforts to improve patient safety and clinical performance. Safety culture is defined as the product of individual and group beliefs, values, attitudes, perceptions, competencies and patterns of behavior that determine the organization's commitment to quality and patient safety according to the Joint Commission. Studies demonstrate that a culture of safety improves clinical outcomes and reduces adverse events and mortality. The National Patient Safety Foundation has designated a culture of safety as a safe practice and accreditation bodies, specifically the Joint Commission, require hospitals to measure the culture of safety within the organization.

Hospitals use safety-­culture surveys to measure employee perceptions about the organizational culture. Hospital clinicians and staff are asked about aspects of their team, communication, safety hazards, transparency, teamwork and leadership. Surveys are conducted periodically to assess progress and identify and prioritize opportunities to improve. The Agency for Healthcare Quality (ARHQ) recommends that hospitals conduct individually confidential surveys to promote staff participation and encourage frank, honest and robust response. 

2020 Patient Safety Culture Survey Issue Paper