Surveys on Patient Safety Culture™

As part of its goal to support a culture of patient safety and quality improvement in the Nation's health care system, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) sponsored the development of patient safety culture assessment tools for hospitals, nursing homes, ambulatory outpatient medical offices, community pharmacies, and ambulatory surgery centers.

The AHRQ Surveys on Patient Safety Culture (SOPS™) program enables health care organizations to assess how their staff perceive various aspects of patient safety culture in the following settings:

Health care organizations can use these survey assessment tools 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.

The Surveys on Patient Safety Culture are publicly available, which means that anyone can download and use these surveys to assess patient safety culture in a health care setting. Note that international users should contact for permission to use the survey outside the U.S.

AHRQ has established comparative databases as central repositories for survey data from organizations that have administered the AHRQ patient safety culture survey instruments. The databases serve as important resources for sites wishing to compare their patient safety culture survey results to those of other sites in support of patient safety culture improvement.

Additional Resources

Action Planning Tool (PDF File, 776.7 KB; Word File, 111.77 KB)—This tool was designed primarily for users of the AHRQ Surveys on Patient Safety Culture and is intended for use after your organization administers the survey and analyzes the results. It provides step-by-step guidance to help survey users develop an action plan to improve patient safety culture.

Research Reference List—The purpose of this research reference list is to provide citations for articles published on the AHRQ safety culture surveys. It includes references on the use of the surveys; psychometric analyses; analyses linking the survey to outcome data; reviews of instruments; and international studies.

Frequently Asked Questions - The Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) offers answers to a wide range of questions about the SOPS program as well as the specific survey instruments. You can search the FAQs by topic.

Improving Response Rates on the AHRQ Surveys on Patient Safety Culture—This podcast will provide you with information on tips and tools to increase your survey response rates in your organization.

International Users

AHRQ is interested in finding out about international users of the Surveys on Patient Safety Culture. If you are an international user, please email to share information about your administration of the surveys, results, and any translations you have made of the surveys. For more information about international use of the Surveys on Patient Safety Culture, go to International Users.

Technical Assistance

Page last reviewed April 2017
Page originally created July 2012
Internet Citation: Surveys on Patient Safety Culture™. Content last reviewed April 2017. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD.