Patient Safety Receives High Marks in Hospital Survey




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Hospital staff members believe their facilities make the grade when it comes to patient safety. In the recently released Hospital Survey on Patient Safety Culture from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), most respondents (75 percent) gave their area an "Excellent" or "Very Good" rating.

Background on Study

Over 470,000 hospital employees from 1,032 hospitals responded to the AHRQ survey. Nurses comprised the largest (35 percent) group of respondents.

Established in 2004, the report provides a comparative analysis of the opinions of hospital staff about patient safety issues, medical error, and event reporting. The survey contains 42 questions that measure 12 areas of patient safety culture.

Study Results

The study identified three areas of strengths for most hospitals.

Teamwork Within Units – An average of 80 percent reported positive results. This area held the highest average percent for positive responses.

Management's Response – An average of 75 percent of responses were positive to questions regarding the extent management considered staff suggestions for improvement, provided praise for adhering to patient safety procedures, and the attention they paid to problems.

Patient Safety Grade  As noted, there was a 75 percent positive rating with 29 percent graded as "Excellent" and 46 percent graded as "Very Good."

Three areas with potential for improvement included the following.

Response to Error  An average of 44 percent of responses were positive to questions on staff's belief that mistakes and event reports were not held against them and recorded in their personnel file. This area held the lowest average percent of positive responses.

Patient Information Handoffs and Transition – An average of 45 percent of the responses were positive when evaluating the exchange of important patient care information across hospital units and during shift changes.

Number of Events Reported  On average, most respondents (54 percent) reported no events at their facilities within the past 12 months. Researchers expressed the likelihood that this represented an underreporting of events, and identified this as an area for improvement for most hospitals.

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