Table 1-1. Patient Safety Culture Composites and Definitions

2008 Comparative Database Report

Patient Safety Culture CompositeDefinition: The extent to which...
1. Communication opennessStaff freely speak up if they see something that may negatively affect a patient, and feel free to question those with more authority
2. Feedback & communication about errorStaff are informed about errors that happen, given feedback about changes implemented, and discuss ways to prevent errors
3. Frequency of events reportedMistakes of the following types are reported:
  • mistakes caught and corrected before affecting the patient
  • mistakes with no potential to harm the patient
  • mistakes that could harm the patient, but do not
4. Handoffs & transitionsImportant patient care information is transferred across hospital units and during shift changes
5. Management support for patient safetyHospital management provides a work climate that promotes patient safety and shows that patient safety is a top priority
6. Nonpunitive response to errorStaff feel that their mistakes and event reports are not held against them, and that mistakes are not kept in their personnel file
7. Organizational learning–Continuous improvementThere is a learning culture in which mistakes lead to positive changes and changes are evaluated for effectiveness
8. Overall perceptions of patient safetyProcedures and systems are good at preventing errors and there is a lack of patient safety problems
9. StaffingThere are enough staff to handle the workload and work hours are appropriate to provide the best care for patients
10. Supervisor/manager expectations & actions promoting safetySupervisors/managers consider staff suggestions for improving patient safety, praise staff for following patient safety procedures, and do not overlook patient safety problems
11. Teamwork across unitsHospital units cooperate and coordinate with one another to provide the best care for patients
12. Teamwork within unitsStaff support one another, treat each other with respect, and work together as a team
Page last reviewed March 2008
Internet Citation: Table 1-1. Patient Safety Culture Composites and Definitions: 2008 Comparative Database Report. March 2008. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD.