Hospital Survey on Patient Safety Culture


The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality prepared a program that aimed at evaluating the patient safety in the United States. This research is conducted to improve the efficiency in the healthcare service delivery in general, and reducing the readmission and death rates in particular. The Hospital Survey on Patient Safety Culture ensures continued investments for identification, prevention of risks and hazards, and development of the promising safety practices. The progress made should be supervised to ensure the valid use of taxpayers’ money. The AHRQ employs the science-based evidence to aid the healthcare sector stakeholders including patients, clinical staff, and other policy makers in making decisions concerning healthcare issues. It is achieved by conducting, sponsoring, and disseminating the science-based research designed to improve the results, safety, and quality of health care, reduce cost, and increase accessibility of quality services. This strategy allows to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of healthcare organization in general, as well as delivery and financing issues in particular. The AHRQ funds the relevant research survey, develops it, and spreads information through public conferences and other sources in order to ensure the safety of patients and reduce the readmission rates.

Health Care Access Hospital Survey on Patient Safety Culture

The Program’s Mission and Budget

Hospital Survey on Patient Safety Culture was first released in 2004 with a few number of hospitals engaged. The program was a medical staff survey aimed at assisting the healthcare facilities and professionals in the assessment of the patient safety practices in their medical setups in order to improve the service delivery. Since its introduction in 2004, hundreds of hospitals within and without the United States have implemented the survey. There were numerous requests from healthcare facilities, which were interested in comparison of their survey results to that of other hospitals. Consequently, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) came up with a comparison database on the patient safety survey 2006 in a bid to respond to the requests. The research budget covering the health and quality of the patient safety in 2013 was $ 6.7 million (Sorra, 2004).

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Program Strategic Plan

The Hospital Survey on Patient Safety Culture evaluates the attitude of the staff towards the patient safety culture in their unit and patient safety culture in the hospital as a whole. There are 12 issues of the patient safety culture; each category is evaluated based on three to four questions. These categories include communication, transparency, error feedback and communication, frequency of reported events, hospital transitions and handoffs, hospital’s management support of the patient safety, staffing, teamwork within the units and across hospital units, general safety perception aspects, organizational learning for continuous improvement, non-punitive response to errors and supervisor’s expectations, and the actions aimed at promoting the patient safety(Sorra, 2011). The database comprises the data voluntarily submitted be the employees of the United States hospitals that conducted the survey. The comparative database reports were produced in 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2012, and 2014.

Control of the Healthcare

After the delivery of the survey results, further action planning and development is required to make the research beneficial to the patients. Some surveys are useless due to their inability to introduce the lasting changes because of faulty or non-existent action plans or follow-ups. This review presents seven steps to assist hospitals in further action planning. The measures provide the hospitals with guidance on the steps required to transform the survey results into the improvement of the patient safety culture (Sorra, 2004). The vital steps include study of the hospital’s results, communication and discussion of the survey results, development of the detailed action plans, communication of the work plans and deliverables, implementation of the action plans, track progress and evaluation of the impact, and sharing of the working plans.

Diagnosing and assessing the current status of the patient safety culture are essential in forging the way forward and developing the recommendations. The provision of supplemental information through identification of the strengths and sectors that require improvement of the patient safety culture is significant in the analysis of the hospital’s performance in healthcare. Examination of the trends change involved in the patient safety culture over time is beneficial in today’s dynamic setup. Evaluation of the cultural effect of the patient safety interventions and initiatives is crucial in determining the most appropriate system. Conduction of both internal and external comparisons is also vital in boosting the quality of health care offered in the hospitals (Sorra, 2011).

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Cost Containment

According to the hospital survey on patient safety culture sponsored by AQRH, cost containment should be practiced to ensure the value of the taxpayers’ money. Research studies are frequently considered to be unsuccessful because of a lack of follow-ups and subsequent improvement of the systems after the research. Heavy spending of the research funds with little evidence to be demonstrated to the society is wrong. Such portfolio of the patient safety survey is essential because it considers patients in all settings (Sorra, 2004). To ensure cost containment, clear evidence of improved quality and patient safety in the hospitals is critical, especially in reducing the number of the hospital-associated infections and other harms associated with the delivery of the healthcare services. Highlighting specific initiatives aimed directly at cost containment is improper.

Alignment with the Healthcare Professionals

This research study is aligned with the healthcare professionals and their service delivery in relation to the patient safety culture. Patients can contract infections in the hospitals due to inadequate hygiene and improper handling of the medical staff, such as laboratory samples. These infections can be transmitted from one patient to another or from a medical practitioner to a patient and vice versa. The central medium in this transmission cycle is a healthcare professional. Subsequently, it is important to carry out a hospital survey on the patient safety culture to see the patient safety practices from the hospital workers’ point of view (Sorra, 2011).

The survey covers all hospital workers: both clinical and non-clinical staff. Healthcare professionals who deal with patient care are a crucial element of this survey. The research is best-suited for the staff who engage in direct interactions with patients such as ward clerks and nurses, as well as hospital workers whose duties directly influence patient care, such as pharmacists and laboratory technologists (Sorra, 2004). The workers who are within the health facilities at working hours such as pathologists, hospital administrators, and managers can also participate in the survey. The survey targets the employees who have an understanding of the hospital culture. These workers are a crucial source of information regarding the patient safety practices; they can help reduce the death rates and avoid readmissions. The staff awareness initiatives are to be implemented after the survey, to ensure maximum research benefits.

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Value of the Program

This program is a valuable initiative for the society because of its mission. Healthcare is the most important domain for development and funding; they should never be considered a waste of money. People’s lives and wellbeing usually depends on healthcare; therefore, keen attention to these surveys is crucial to all humanity. The research aims at improving the hospital-acquired conditions, reducing the death rates and subsequent minimization of the costs (Sorra, 2011).

There are certain drawbacks of the Hospital Survey on Patient Safety Culture because there is little evidence of its contribution to the improvement of the patient safety. However, this program should not be abandoned because continued investments in this kind of research are important in identification, prevention of the risks and hazards, as well as development of the promising safety practices. Through the research, the resources and tools to facilitate the changes in practice, service delivery, and communication patterns are identified. Total abandonment of the research program will never make the above goals a reality; moreover, the patient safety culture and the general healthcare system at large will continue to deteriorate.

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