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Opportunities for Improvement of Patient Safety Culture Using National Safety Survey Instruments

A Kapur*, Y Cao, B Bloom, P Zuvic, G Somerstein, L Potters, Northwell Health, Lake Success, NY


(Sunday, 7/12/2020)   [Eastern Time (GMT-4)]

Room: AAPM ePoster Library


The purpose of this work was to identify opportunities for improvement of patient safety culture using two surveys: Safety Profile Assessment Tool (SPA) from AAPM; and the Patient Safety Culture Survey from the US federal Agency on Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ).


Two surveys were completed following a decade of safety interventions within our radiation-medicine department. The 92-question SPA survey, including 18 institutional-culture questions was completed jointly by a multidisciplinary team of 6 members. The 42-question AHRQ survey, representing 12 composites of patient safety was completed anonymously by 137 members (64.3%) of the department. Our results were compared with national benchmarks (410 SPA surveys, 630 Hospital surveys with 382,834 respondents) using Mann-Whitney statistical tests. Institutional-culture questions from the SPA were cross linked with the 12 safety composites of the AHRQ survey. Areas for improvement were extracted.


It took 2 hours and on average 12.4 minutes to complete the SPA and AHRQ surveys respectively. Our overall SPA and institutional culture scores were 1.30 and 1.63 respectively versus 2.63, 2.83 for benchmarks (p-value <0.0001) (Score range 1.0-5.0, best-to-worst). Our AHRQ-survey score (67.8%-favorable) was comparable to the national average of 65.0% (p-value>0.05). The SPA culture questions cross-linked to 7 of 12 AHRQ safety composites and presented one area for improvement also captured by the AHRQ survey. The latter presented 7 additional targets for improvement. The SPA tool identified gaps for policies related to pathways of serious error propagation seen nationwide as well as in our department.


The AHRQ survey provided efficient and pragmatic guidance for culture improvement encompassing twelve safety composites and responses from a large number of staff members. For improving safety practices, the AAPM-SPA tool highlighted gaps and compliance in policies from a focused group of respondents. Thus the two surveys provide complementary guidance for safety improvements.


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