Medical Office Survey on Patient Safety Culture

In response to medical offices interested in a survey that focuses on patient safety culture in their offices, AHRQ sponsored the development of the Medical Office Survey on Patient Safety Culture. This survey is designed specifically for outpatient medical office providers and staff and asks for their opinions about the culture of patient safety and health care quality in their medical offices.

The survey was designed for medical offices with at least three providers (physicians, either M.D. or D.O.; physician assistants; nurse practitioners; and other providers licensed to diagnose medical problems, treat patients, and prescribe medications). Rather than administering the survey, small offices with a solo practitioner or two providers can use it as a tool to initiate open dialog or discussion about patient safety and quality issues among providers and staff. In health systems or multisite practices, the survey may be administered in smaller offices if the responses are aggregated and only reported at the larger practice or system level. Aggregating the responses would help maintain the confidential nature of individual responses in small offices. 

Medical Office Survey Toolkit

Frequently Asked Questions

Survey Form

Note: If your medical office intends to submit data to the Medical Office Comparative Database, an office-level information form should be completed for every medical office. Select to access the Medical Office Information Form.

Survey Items and Dimensions

Survey User's Guide

The User's Guide provides a general overview of the issues and major decisions involved in conducting a survey and reporting the results. The Guide includes information on getting started, selecting a sample, determining data collection methods, establishing data collection procedures, conducting a Web-based survey, and preparing and analyzing data, and producing reports.

Comparative Database

Many medical offices using the AHRQ Medical Office Survey on Patient Safety Culture have expressed interest in comparing their results to other medical offices. In response, AHRQ has established the Medical Office Survey on Patient Safety Culture Comparative Database. This database is a central repository for survey data from medical offices that have administered the AHRQ patient safety culture survey instrument.

The table below indicates the planned data submission time periods for the Medical Office Survey on Patient Safety Culture. The next data submission period is in October 2015.

Planned Medical Office Survey on Patient Safety Culture Data Submission Periods

  2013 2014 2015 2016 2017
Medical Office Survey on Patient Safety Culture Oct. 2013 Oct. 2015

Note: "—" indicates that there is no data submission for that year.

Submission Information—For medical offices interested in submitting their medical office patient safety culture survey data.

  • Medical Office Information Form ( PDF Version [ PDF file - 67.98 KB] )—Questions to be completed for each medical office submitting data to the AHRQ Medical Office Survey on Patient Safety Culture Comparative Database.
  • Data Use Agreement (PDF Version [ PDF file - 137.19 KB] )—Indicates how data submitted by medical offices will be used and provides confidentiality assurances.

2014 Medical Office User Comparative Database Report ( Part 1 [ PDF file - 2.8 MB] ; Part 2 [ PDF file - 1.3 MB] )—The latest edition of the AHRQ Medical Office Survey on Patient Safety Culture User Comparative Database Report presents data from 27,103 staff within 935 U.S. medical offices. The full report contains detailed comparative data for various medical office characteristics (number of providers, specialty, ownership, and region) and staff position.

2012 Medical Office User Comparative Database Report ( Part 1 [ PDF file - 2.96 MB]  ; Part 2 [ PDF file - 1.72 MB]  )—The first edition of the AHRQ Medical Office Survey on Patient Safety Culture User Comparative Database Report presents data from 23,679 staff within 934 U.S. medical offices. The full report contains detailed comparative data for various medical office characteristics (number of providers, specialty, ownership, and region) and staff position.

Additional Resources

Using the Medical Office Survey on Patient Safety Culture (Webinar)

A webinar conducted on April 29, 2011, provides users with an overview of the development and use of the survey. In addition, the Oregon Practice-based Research Network shares lessons learned. Results from the 2010 Preliminary Comparative Results are discussed as well as new analyses of patient safety culture perceptions between physicians and other medical office staff, and how medical office characteristics like size, ownership, specialty, and Health Information Technology (Health IT) implementation affect the survey results.

Read the transcript.

Access the Webinar replay (Flash® video, 57 min., 40 sec.; 96 MB). Note: To access the Webinar replay, you will need to use Macromedia® Flash® player.

Page last reviewed October 2014
Internet Citation: Medical Office Survey on Patient Safety Culture. October 2014. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD. http://www.ahrq.gov/professionals/quality-patient-safety/patientsafetyculture/medical-office/index.html