Environmental Scan of Patient Safety Education and Training Programs


As the leader in patient safety education, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) must ensure that its efforts to improve patient safety not only reflect the state of the art, but also account for the most current, evidence-based practice. At the conclusion of the Patient Safety Improvement Corps (PSIC) program in 2008, AHRQ realized the need to adapt future efforts (whether via another iteration of PSIC or another delivery model) to ensure comprehensive and accurate coverage of the current patient safety education domain. In 2009, AHRQ's Center for Quality Improvement and Patient Safety (CQuIPS) identified a need to conduct an environmental scan of existing patient safety education and training programs with the ultimate goal of building a searchable database for the general public. A contract was awarded to the American Institutes for Research (AIR) to support AHRQ in this effort.

The project consisted of the following core tasks to meet the stated objectives (as illustrated in Exhibit 1):

  • Collect data on and catalog the universe of current, active, and recurring patient safety education and training programs.
  • Characterize these programs by salient factors (e.g., sponsor, targeted/eligible audience, program objectives, delivery method, duration, content, cost).
  • Provide an easy-to-use, searchable database of the catalog that can be used internally by AHRQ and may be imported into the AHRQ Patient Safety Network (PSNet), without modification, for access by users of that site.
  • Provide analysis, conclusions, and recommendations based on observations/findings and potential future patient safety education and training that may be supported by AHRQ.

Exhibit 1. Primary Tasks for Conducting an Environmental Scan of Patient Safety Education/Training Programs

Four trapesoidal figures in a row are captioned Collect Data and Catalog, Characterize Programs, Provide Searchable Database, and Provide Analysis and Conclusions.


Throughout the contract period, AIR prepared several reports documenting the methodological plan and data collection procedures employed during each phase of the project. These deliverables include the following:

  • Methodology and Inclusion/Exclusion Criteria,1 which presented the methodological plan for conducting the environmental scan and specified the criteria used to determine whether programs identified through the scan process would be included in the final catalog.
  • Standard Taxonomy for the Environmental Scan,2 which detailed the framework of features used to categorize patient safety education and training programs that ultimately serves as the basis for the catalog search engine.
  • Standard Template for Data Abstraction,3 which detailed the data fields used for abstracting information about programs identified during the environmental scan phase of this project.
  • Qualitative Analysis of Consumer Perspectives of Patient Safety Education and Training Programs,4 which reported the results of an informal exploration of consumer perspectives on the advantages and disadvantages of different characteristics of patient safety education and training programs.

This report highlights information presented in the previous deliverables, details the final results of the environmental scan and data abstraction phases, and describes the features of the searchable catalog. The report is divided into the following chapters:

  • Environmental Scan.
  • Electronic Searchable Catalog.
  • Qualitative Analysis of Consumer Perspectives.
  • Results and Next Steps.

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Page last reviewed June 2013
Page originally created June 2013
Internet Citation: Introduction. Content last reviewed June 2013. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD. http://www.ahrq.gov/research/findings/final-reports/environmental-scan-programs/envscan-program-intro.html