Frequently Asked Questions

Surveys on Patient Safety Culture

These frequently asked questions address issues related to the Hospital Survey on Patient Safety Culture, the Nursing Home Survey on Patient Safety Culture, the Medical Office Survey on Patient Safety Culture, and the Community Pharmacy Survey on Patient Safety Culture. The frequently asked questions are organized into general questions that pertain to all settings followed by questions pertaining to specific survey settings.

 Contents

General Questions

  1. Why should a health care organization conduct a safety culture survey?
  2. There are other organizational culture and safety culture surveys; why should an organization use one of the AHRQ Surveys on Patient Safety Culture?
  3. How often should an organization administer the AHRQ Surveys on Patient Safety Culture?
  4. Can I use the AHRQ Surveys on Patient Safety Culture outside the United States?
  5. Can I translate the AHRQ Surveys on Patient Safety Culture?
  6. Can I modify the AHRQ Surveys on Patient Safety Culture or do I need to use them as is?
  7. Are there Spanish versions of the AHRQ Surveys on Patient Safety Culture available?
  8. How can I improve my survey results?
  9. How can I improve my response rate?
  10. How can I stay up to date on safety culture news?
  11. Whom can I contact if I have further questions?

Questions Specific to the Hospital Survey on Patient Safety Culture

  1. What areas of patient safety culture do the survey questions cover on the Hospital Survey on Patient Safety Culture?
  2. How long is the Hospital Survey on Patient Safety Culture?
  3. Can hospital systems that include ambulatory/outpatient facilities also use this survey?
  4. How many completed surveys are needed to submit to the Hospital Survey on Patient Safety Culture Comparative Database?
  5. Can I compare my hospital's survey results against other hospitals?
  6. Can international hospitals participate in the Hospital Survey on Patient Safety Culture Comparative Database?

Questions Specific to the Nursing Home Survey on Patient Safety Culture

  1. What areas of patient safety culture do the survey questions cover on the Nursing Home Survey on Patient Safety Culture?
  2. How long is the Nursing Home Survey on Patient Safety Culture?
  3. What is considered a nursing home?
  4. Does the Nursing Home Survey on Patient Safety Culture apply to assisted living facilities, community care facilities, or independent living facilities?
  5. How many completed surveys are needed to submit to the Nursing Home Survey on Patient Safety Culture Comparative Database?
  6. Can I compare my nursing home's survey results against other nursing homes?
  7. Can international nursing homes participate in the Nursing Home Survey on Patient Safety Culture Comparative Database?

Questions Specific to the Medical Office Survey on Patient Safety Culture

  1. What areas of patient safety culture do the survey questions cover on the Medical Office Survey on Patient Safety Culture?
  2. How long is the Medical Office Survey on Patient Safety Culture?
  3. What is considered a medical office?
  4. Can any size medical office conduct the Medical Office Survey on Patient Safety Culture?
  5. Does it matter what specialty or specialties my medical office covers?
  6. How many completed surveys are needed to submit to the Medical Office Survey on Patient Safety Culture Comparative Database?
  7. Can I compare my medical office's survey results against other medical offices?
  8. Can international medical offices participate in the Medical Office Survey on Patient Safety Culture Comparative Database?

Questions Specific to the Community Pharmacy Survey on Patient Safety Culture 

  1. What areas of patient safety culture do the survey questions cover on the Community Pharmacy Survey on Patient Safety Culture?
  2. How long is the Community Pharmacy Survey on Patient Safety Culture?
  3. What is considered a community pharmacy?
  4. How many completed surveys are needed to submit to the Community Pharmacy Survey on Patient Safety Culture Comparative Database?
  5. Is the Community Pharmacy Survey on Patient Safety Culture applicable to a hospital pharmacy setting that does both inpatient and retail pharmacy business?
  6. Can I compare my community pharmacy's survey results against other community pharmacies?

General Questions

 Question 1: Why should a health care organization conduct a safety culture survey?

Answer: Safety culture surveys are useful for measuring organizational conditions that can lead to adverse events and patient harm in health care organizations. Organizations that want to assess their existing culture of patient safety should consider conducting a safety culture survey. Safety culture surveys can be used to:

  • Raise staff awareness about patient safety.
  • Diagnose and assess the current status of patient safety culture.
  • Identify strengths and areas for patient safety culture improvement.
  • Examine trends in patient safety culture change over time.
  • Evaluate the cultural impact of patient safety initiatives and interventions.
  • Conduct internal and external comparisons.

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Question 2: There are other organizational culture and safety culture surveys; why should an organization use one of the AHRQ Surveys on Patient Safety Culture?

Answer: The AHRQ Surveys on Patient Safety Culture have several advantages. They are:

  1. Free—available to the public. The surveys were developed by AHRQ and are available free of charge.
  2. An organizationwide instrument. The surveys were designed to be administered to all types of staff, including clinical and nonclinical staff in hospitals, nursing homes, medical offices, and community pharmacies. They can be used to assess individual units or departments or can be administered organizationwide.
  3. Reliable and valid. The survey development process was careful and rigorous, based on a review of the existing research and other culture surveys. More important, the survey items have demonstrated reliability and validity (for more details, refer to the survey Toolkit materials available on the AHRQ Web site at http://www.ahrq.gov/professionals/quality-patient-safety/patientsafetyculture/index.html).
  4. Comprehensive and specific. The surveys cover several areas of patient safety culture, providing a level of detail that helps organizations identify specific areas of strength and areas for improvement.
  5. Easy to use. Each survey has an accompanying Toolkit that contains the following materials:
    • Survey Forms.
    • Survey Items and Dimensions.
    • A Survey User's Guide: Gives step-by-step instructions on how to select a sample, administer the survey and obtain high response rates, and how to analyze and report results.
    • Data Entry and Analysis Tool: A data entry and analysis tool that works with Microsoft® Excel and makes it easy to input your individual-level data from the survey. The tool then automatically creates tables and graphs to display your survey results. To request the tool for the hospital, medical office,  nursing home, or community pharmacy survey, send an Email to: DatabasesOnSafetyCulture@westat.com.
  6. Comparative data. In response to requests from organizations interested in comparing their safety culture survey results to others, AHRQ funded the development of comparative databases for the hospital, nursing home, medical office, and community pharmacy surveys.

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Question 3: How often should an organization administer the AHRQ Surveys on Patient Safety Culture?

Answer: On average, hospitals that have submitted to the Hospital Survey on Patient Safety Culture Comparative Database more than once readminister the survey every 20 months. Although we do not provide any set recommendations regarding when to readminister the survey, we do caution against administering the survey less than 6 months apart. This would apply as well to the medical office, nursing home, and community pharmacy settings.

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 Question 4: Can I use the AHRQ Surveys on Patient Safety Culture outside the United States?

Answer: The AHRQ Surveys on Patient Safety Culture are free to the public and can be administered outside the United States. If you plan to translate and administer one of the surveys outside the United States, please contact SafetyCultureSurveys@westat.com to share information about your administration of the survey. For more information about international use of the Surveys on Patient Safety Culture, go to http://www.ahrq.gov/professionals/quality-patient-safety/patientsafetyculture/pscintusers.html.

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 Question 5: Can I translate the AHRQ Surveys on Patient Safety Culture?

Answer: The Hospital Survey on Patient Safety Culture, the Nursing Home Survey on Patient Safety Culture, and the Medical Office Survey on Patient Safety Culture are available in Spanish. The Spanish translations are designed for U.S. Spanish-speaking respondents from different countries. A number of translations in other languages have already been developed by international users who have agreed to share their translations. Information for translators and translation guidelines are available for download at http://www.ahrq.gov/professionals/quality-patient-safety/patientsafetyculture/transguide.html. If you plan to translate one of the surveys, please contact SafetyCultureSurveys@westat.com.

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 Question 6: Can I modify the AHRQ Surveys on Patient Safety Culture or do I need to use them as is?

Answer: To compare your facility's results against other facilities, you should not modify the surveys. In general, we recommend making only those changes or additions to a survey that are absolutely necessary. Any changes may affect the reliability and overall validity of the survey and may make comparisons with other facilities difficult.

  • Modifying background items: Your facility may wish to modify the responses to these background questions so that they reflect the names of work units, staff position titles, and the like.
  • Adding items: If your facility would like to add items to the survey, we recommend adding these items toward the end of the survey.
  • Making the survey shorter or removing items: Although the surveys take only about 10 to 15 minutes to complete, your facility may want to administer a shorter survey with fewer items. The Survey User's Guides provide information on the safety culture dimensions assessed in the survey and the reliability figures for each dimension. Delete the dimensions that your facility is not interested in assessing (be sure to delete all of the items associated with those dimensions). In this way, your facility's results on the remaining safety culture dimensions still can be compared to other facilities that use the survey.
  • Rewording existing items: We do not recommend rewording any of the survey questions. The Surveys on Patient Safety Culture have all gone through an extensive process for survey item development, including a literature review, in-person and telephone interviews, pretesting, and pilot testing.  The data were analyzed, examining item statistics and the reliability and validity of the safety culture scales, as well as the factor structure of the survey through factor analysis.  Based on these analyses, the safety culture surveys were finalized using the best items and scales.  In addition, if you alter any of the items, you will not be able to compare your results against the larger comparative database and you will be unable to submit your data to the comparative databases.  
  • Adapting the survey for Web-based data collection: We recommend using a paper-based survey data collection methodology to make sure you obtain the highest possible response rates. Despite the probability of lower response rates, your facility may decide that it is more feasible and logistically advantageous to collect data with a Web-based survey. Web-based surveys have a wide range of design features and can involve different data collection procedures. Be sure to read "Conducting a Web-based Survey" in the Survey User's Guide for guidelines on how to adapt the safety culture survey for this type of data collection.

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Question 7: Are Spanish versions of the AHRQ Surveys on Patient Safety Culture available?

Answer: Spanish versions of the Hospital, Nursing Home, and Medical Office Surveys for use in the United States are available at http://www.ahrq.gov/professionals/quality-patient-safety/patientsafetyculture/hospital/index.html, http://www.ahrq.gov/professionals/quality-patient-safety/patientsafetyculture/nursing-home/index.html, and http://www.ahrq.gov/professionals/quality-patient-safety/patientsafetyculture/medical-office/index.html.

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 Question 8: How can I improve my survey results?

Answer: Resource lists for users of the AHRQ Surveys on Patient Safety Culture are available. Each resource list contains references to Web sites that provide practical resources to improve patient safety culture and patient safety. The lists are not exhaustive but are meant to offer initial guidance for those looking for information on patient safety initiatives. Resources lists have been developed for the hospital, nursing home, medical office, and community pharmacy settings and can be found on the home page for each setting.

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 Question 9: How can I improve my response rates?

Answer: There are many ways to increase your survey response rate, but it will require effort and careful planning. Here are some strategies to consider:

  1. Engage leadership.
  2. Publicize the survey.
  3. Use survey best practices.
  4. Create a competitive spirit.
  5. Provide survey incentives.

An audio podcast and tip sheet on improving response rate is available at http://www.ahrq.gov/professionals/quality-patient-safety/patientsafetyculture/sopspodcasts.html.

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 Question 10: How can I stay up to date on safety culture survey news?

Answer: You may register for E-mail updates from the AHRQ Web site by going to https://subscriptions.ahrq.gov/accounts/USAHRQ/subscriber/new.

Choose from the following Surveys on Patient Safety Culture Email subscription lists:

  • Hospital Survey.
  • Medical Office Survey.
  • Nursing Home Survey.
  • Community Pharmacy Survey.
  • Translations and International Use.

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 Question 11: Whom can I contact if I have further questions?

Answer: If you have questions about the Surveys on Patient Safety Culture or need technical assistance, Email SafetyCultureSurveys@westat.com or DatabasesOnSafetyCulture@westat.com.

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Questions Specific to the Hospital Survey on Patient Safety Culture

 Question 12: What areas of patient safety culture do the survey questions cover on the Hospital Survey on Patient Safety Culture?

Answer: The survey measures staff perceptions of patient safety culture in their work area/unit, as well as perceptions about patient safety culture in the hospital as a whole. The following 12 dimensions of patient safety culture are included, with each dimension measured by 3 or 4 survey questions:

  1. Communication openness.
  2. Feedback & communication about error.
  3. Frequency of events reported.
  4. Hospital handoffs & transitions.
  5. Hospital management support for patient safety.
  6. Nonpunitive response to error.
  7. Organizational learning-continuous improvement.
  8. Overall perceptions of safety.
  9. Staffing.
  10. Supervisor/manager expectations & actions promoting patient safety.
  11. Teamwork across hospital units.
  12. Teamwork within units.

In addition, the hospital survey includes seven background demographic questions and two overall rating questions:

  1. Please give your work area/unit in this hospital an overall grade on patient safety.
  2. In the past 12 months, how many event reports have you filled out and submitted?

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 Question 13: How long is the Hospital Survey on Patient Safety Culture?

Answer: There are a total of 51 items in the survey and it takes approximately 10 minutes to complete. Most of the items use Agree/Disagree or Never/Always response categories, so they are easy to answer. There is room for written comments at the end of the survey.

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 Question 14: Can hospital systems that include ambulatory/outpatient facilities also use the Hospital Survey on Patient Safety Culture?

Answer: Ambulatory facilities that are adjacent to or part of a hospital can use the "facility version" of the Hospital Survey on Patient Safety Culture, which is downloadable at: http://www.ahrq.gov/professionals/quality-patient-safety/patientsafetyculture/hospital/index.html. In this version, the term "hospital" is replaced with the term "facility" throughout the survey (along with accompanying word context changes), but the items are the same.

However, AHRQ has developed the Medical Office Survey on Patient Safety Culture for use in outpatient medical offices. The survey and toolkit materials are available on the AHRQ Web site at: http://www.ahrq.gov/professionals/quality-patient-safety/patientsafetyculture/medical-office/index.html. Because the survey was designed specifically for medical offices, it does not crosswalk or compare directly to the hospital survey.

If you use the "facility version," you must exclude the ambulatory hospital data when submitting to the Hospital Survey on Patient Safety Culture Comparative Database because the database is only for hospital data.

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 Question 15: How many completed surveys are needed to submit to the Hospital Survey on Patient Safety Culture Comparative Database?

Answer: A single hospital location needs at least 10 completed surveys to submit to the Hospital Survey on Patient Safety Culture Comparative Database.

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 Question 16: Can I compare my hospital's survey results against other hospitals?

Answer: In response to requests from hospitals interested in comparing their results with other hospitals on the Hospital Survey on Patient Safety Culture, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) established the Hospital Survey on Patient Safety Culture Comparative Database. AHRQ has produced Comparative Database Reports for 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2014. The AHRQ Hospital Survey on Patient Safety Culture 2014 Comparative Database Report was based on data from 653 U.S. hospitals and and presents results showing change over time for 359 hospitals that submitted data more than once. Hospitals can use the comparative results as one basis for comparison in their efforts to establish, improve, and maintain a culture of patient safety in their institutions.

The Hospital Survey on Patient Safety Culture 2014 Comparative Database Report is available at http://www.ahrq.gov/professionals/quality-patient-safety/patientsafetyculture/hospital/2014/index.html.

Information about eligibility requirements, registration procedures, and benefits of participating in the database is available at http://www.ahrq.gov/professionals/quality-patient-safety/patientsafetyculture/hospital/resources/y2dbsubmission.html.

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 Question 17: Can international hospitals participate in the Hospital Survey on Patient Safety Culture Comparative Database?

Answer: Unfortunately, while any hospital is free to use the survey, the AHRQ Hospital Survey on Patient Safety Culture Comparative Database is currently accepting data only from U.S. hospitals. However, we would like to know more about what your plans are or what you have done with the survey in your country. Please contact SafetyCultureSurveys@westat.com to share information about your use of the Hospital Survey on Patient Safety Culture.

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Questions Specific to the Nursing Home Survey on Patient Safety Culture

 Question 18: What areas of patient safety culture do the survey questions cover on the Nursing Home Survey on Patient Safety Culture?

Answer: The Nursing Home Survey on Patient Safety Culture emphasizes resident safety issues. It includes 42 survey items measuring 12 dimensions. Nine of the 12 survey dimensions are similar to those appearing in the Hospital Survey on Patient Safety Culture, although the items included in the dimensions are different. Three dimensions from the hospital survey were dropped in the nursing home survey: Frequency of event reporting, Teamwork across units, and Teamwork within units. Three new dimensions were added: Compliance with procedures, Training and skills, and Teamwork.

The dimensions in the nursing home survey are:

  1. Communication openness.
  2. Compliance with procedures.
  3. Feedback and communication about incidents.
  4. Handoffs.
  5. Management support for resident safety.
  6. Nonpunitive response to mistakes.
  7. Organizational learning.
  8. Overall perceptions of resident safety.
  9. Staffing.
  10. Supervisor expectations and actions promoting resident safety.
  11. Teamwork.
  12. Training and skills.

In addition, the nursing home survey includes seven background demographic questions and two overall rating questions:

  1. I would tell friends that this is a safe nursing home for their family.
  2. Please give this nursing home an overall rating on resident safety.

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 Question 19: How long is the Nursing Home Survey on Patient Safety Culture?

Answer: There are a total of 51 items in the survey and it takes approximately 10 to 15 minutes to complete. Most of the items use Agree/Disagree or Never/Always response categories, so they are easy to answer. There is room for written comments at the end of the survey.

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 Question 20: What is considered a nursing home?

Answer: A nursing home is a facility or a special contained area of a facility that has only licensed nursing home beds and is not an assisted living, community care, or independent living facility.

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 Question 21: Does the Nursing Home Survey on Patient Safety Culture apply to assisted living facilities, community care facilities, or independent living facilities?

Answer: The survey was designed to measure resident safety culture in a nursing home facility or in a special contained area of a facility (e.g., a hospital) that includes only licensed nursing home beds, so it is important to understand the type of nursing home facility that the survey was designed for.

  • It was not designed for use in assisted living facilities, community care facilities, or independent living facilities.
  • If a nursing home is located on a large campus or facility that has a mix of nursing home and other long-term care programs (such as independent living, assisted living, and rehabilitation services), survey only the facilities or areas with nursing home beds. Exclude staff who work only in areas with independent living, assisted living, or rehabilitation beds.

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 Question 22: How many completed surveys are needed to submit to the Nursing Home Survey on Patient Safety Culture Comparative Database?

Answer: A single nursing home location needs at least 10 completed surveys to submit to the Nursing Home Survey on Patient Safety Culture Comparative Database.

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 Question 23: Can I compare my nursing home's survey results against other nursing homes?

Answer: In response to requests from nursing homes interested in comparing their results with other nursing homes on the Nursing Home Survey on Patient Safety Culture, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) established the Nursing Home Survey on Patient Safety Culture Comparative Database.

The 2011 Nursing Home Comparative Database Report presents data from 16,155 staff within 226 U.S. nursing homes. The 2011 report provides results that nursing homes can use to compare their patient safety culture to other U.S. nursing homes.

The Nursing Home Survey on Patient Safety Culture 2011 Comparative Database Report is available at http://www.ahrq.gov/professionals/quality-patient-safety/patientsafetyculture/nursing-home/2011/index.html.

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Question 24: Can international nursing homes participate in the Nursing Home Survey on Patient Safety Culture Comparative Database?

Answer: Unfortunately, while any nursing home is free to use the survey, the AHRQ Nursing Home Survey on Patient Safety Culture Comparative Database is currently accepting data only from U.S. nursing homes. However, we would like to know more about what your plans are or what you have done with the survey in your country. Please contact SafetyCultureSurveys@westat.com to share information about your use of the Nursing Home Survey on Patient Safety Culture.

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Questions Specific to the Medical Office Survey on Patient Safety Culture

Question 25: What areas of patient safety culture do the survey questions cover on the Medical Office Survey on Patient Safety Culture?

Answer: The Medical Office Survey on Patient Safety Culture emphasizes patient safety and health care quality issues. The survey includes 51 items measuring 12 dimensions. Six of the survey dimensions (Communication Openness, Communication About Error, Organizational Learning, Overall Perceptions of Patient Safety and Quality, Owner/Managing Partner/Leadership Support for Patient Safety, and Teamwork) are similar to dimensions in the Hospital Survey on Patient Safety Culture, although the items are different in the two surveys. The remaining six survey dimensions are unique to the medical office survey with items that focus specifically on issues related to patient safety or quality of care in medical offices.

The dimensions in the medical office survey are:

  1. Communication about error.
  2. Communication openness.
  3. Information exchange with other settings.
  4. Office processes and standardization.
  5. Organizational learning.
  6. Overall perceptions of patient safety and quality.
  7. Owner/managing partner/leadership support for patient safety.
  8. Patient care tracking/followup.
  9. Patient safety and quality issues.
  10. Staff training.
  11. Teamwork
  12. Work pressure and pace.

In addition, the medical office survey includes three items about respondent background characteristics and two overall rating questions:

  1. Overall, how would you rate your medical office on each of the following areas of health care quality (patient centered, effective, timely, efficient, and equitable)?
  2. Overall, how would you rate the systems and clinical processes your medical office has in place to prevent, catch, and correct problems that have the potential to affect patients?

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Question 26: How long is the Medical Office Survey on Patient Safety Culture?

Answer: There are a total of 60 items in the survey and it takes approximately 10 to 15 minutes to complete. Most of the items use response categories such as Daily/Not in the Past 12 Months, Agree/Disagree, or Never/Always, so they are easy to answer. There is room for written comments at the end of the survey.

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 Question 27: What is considered a medical office?

Answer: The survey was designed to measure the culture of patient safety in medical offices with the following characteristics:

  • A medical office should be an outpatient facility in a specific location. A medical practice or health care system may have multiple medical offices in different locations, but each unique location would be considered a separate medical office for survey administration and feedback.
  • A medical office could be located in a building containing multiple medical offices, but each office in the building would be considered a separate medical office for the purposes of the survey.
  • Providers in a single medical office should share some or all administrative staff, such as receptionists and schedulers, and share some or all clinical support staff.

These characteristics are essential because the survey asks respondents about patient safety and quality issues for a specific medical office location. The survey can be administered to multiple medical offices within a practice, health care system, or building, but each medical office would have to be identified as a separate office rather than being surveyed as one entity.

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 Question 28: Can any size medical office conduct the Medical Office Survey on Patient Safety Culture?

Answer: In small offices with a solo practitioner or two-providers, rather than administering the survey, it can be used 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.

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 Question 29: Does it matter what specialty or specialties my medical office covers?

Answer: The survey was designed to be appropriate for any specialty. Your office may provide primary care services only, other specialty care services only, or a mix of primary and specialty care services.

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 Question 30: How many completed surveys are needed to submit to the Medical Office Survey on Patient Safety Culture Comparative Database?

Answer: A single medical office location needs at least five completed surveys to submit to the Medical Office Survey on Patient Safety Culture Comparative Database. 

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 Question 31: Can I compare my medical office's survey results against other medical offices?

Answer: In response to requests from medical offices interested in comparing their results with other medical offices on the Medical Office Survey on Patient Safety Culture, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) established the Medical Office Survey on Patient Safety Culture Comparative Database.

The 2012 Medical Office Comparative Database Report presents data from 23,679 staff within 934 U.S. medical offices. The report contains detailed comparative data for various medical office characteristics (number of providers, specialty, ownership, and region) and staff positions.

The Medical Office Survey on Patient Safety Culture 2012 Comparative Database Report is available at http://www.ahrq.gov/professionals/quality-patient-safety/patientsafetyculture/medical-office/2012/index.html.

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 Question 32: Can international medical offices participate in the Medical Office Survey on Patient Safety Culture Comparative Database?

Answer: Unfortunately, while any medical office is free to use the survey, the AHRQ Medical Office Survey on Patient Safety Culture Comparative Database is currently accepting data only from U.S. medical offices. However, we would like to know more about what your plans are or what you have done with the survey in your country. Please contact SafetyCultureSurveys@westat.com to share information about your use of the Medical Office Survey on Patient Safety Culture.

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Questions Specific to the Community Pharmacy Survey on Patient Safety Culture

 Question 33: What areas of patient safety culture do the survey questions cover on the Community Pharmacy Survey on Patient Safety Culture?

Answer: The Community Pharmacy Survey on Patient Safety Culture includes 36 items measuring 11 dimensions.

The dimensions in the community pharmacy survey are:

  1. Communication about mistakes.
  2. Communication about prescriptions across shifts.
  3. Communication openness.
  4. Organizational learning—continuous improvement.
  5. Overall perceptions of patient safety.
  6. Patient counseling.
  7. Physical space and environment.
  8. Response to mistakes.
  9. Staff training and skills.
  10. Staffing, work pressure, and pace.
  11. Teamwork.

In addition, the community pharmacy survey includes three items about respondent background characteristics, an additional set of items about documenting mistakes, and one overall rating question:

  1. How do you rate this pharmacy on patient safety?

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 Question 34: How long is the Community Pharmacy Survey on Patient Safety Culture?

Answer: There are a total of 43 items in the survey and it takes approximately 10 minutes to complete. Most of the items use Agree/Disagree or Never/Always response categories so it is easy to answer. There is room for written comments at the end of the survey.

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 Question 35: What is considered a community pharmacy?

Answer: The survey was designed to measure the culture of patient safety in community pharmacies in a single location. This includes pharmacies such as:

  • Independent pharmacies.
  • Supermarket pharmacies.
  • Mass merchants/discount retailer pharmacies.
  • Chain drugstores (local, regional, national).
  • Integrated health system pharmacies (non-hospital unit based).

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 Question 36: How many completed surveys are needed to submit to the Community Pharmacy Survey on Patient Safety Culture Comparative Database?

Answer: A single pharmacy location needs at least five completed surveys to submit to the Community Pharmacy Survey on Patient Safety Culture Comparative Database.

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 Question 37: Is the Community Pharmacy Survey on Patient Safety Culture applicable to a hospital pharmacy setting that does both inpatient and retail pharmacy business? 

Answer: The survey was designed for community pharmacies. You may decide, however, that it is appropriate to administer it in other types of pharmacies, such as pharmacies in an integrated health care system or a hospital, or pharmacies that supply medications only to hospices or nursing homes. Alternatively, it may be that the Hospital Survey best suits the needs of hospital-based pharmacies. We recommend that you closely review the content of both surveys before deciding.

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 Question 38: Can I compare my community pharmacy's survey results against other community pharmacies?

Answer: AHRQ is developing a comparative database for the Community Pharmacy Survey on Patient Safety Culture that will be modeled after the Hospital Survey on Patient Safety Culture Comparative Database. The purpose of the new database will be to enable community pharmacies to compare their survey results with other community pharmacies. Community pharmacies in the United States that have administered the AHRQ survey will be asked to voluntarily submit data to the new database. Specific dates for data submission will be forthcoming. AHRQ will use the data to produce annual comparative database reports similar to the annual Hospital Survey on Patient Safety Culture Comparative Database Report.

For now, community pharmacies can refer to the comparative results in the Community Pharmacy Survey on Patient Safety Culture Preliminary Comparative Results, which are based on data from more than 479 staff in 55 pharmacies that participated in a pilot test of the survey in 2012. This report can be found on the AHRQ Web site at http://www.ahrq.gov/professionals/quality-patient-safety/patientsafetyculture/pharmacy/2012/pilot.html.

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Current as of April 2014
Internet Citation: Frequently Asked Questions: Surveys on Patient Safety Culture. April 2014. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD. http://www.ahrq.gov/professionals/quality-patient-safety/patientsafetyculture/pscfaq.html