Perhaps the bigger question you should be asking is whether your organization is even conducting such an assessment at least once every two years?
With the growing healthcare focus on reducing preventable patient harm, health system executives have become increasingly aware of the link between patient safety and organizational culture. So much has been devoted to understanding patient safety culture that, in 2004, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) released the Hospital Survey on Patient Safety Culture, which has been used by hundreds of hospitals around the world.
Assessing for Culture
What to include in your patient safety assessment depends largely on what your organization wants to achieve. If culture is an issue, then your patient safety assessment should incorporate the six main components of safety culture as identified by AHRQ.
But What of Outcomes Over Culture?
Obviously, patient safety ultimately means providing safer care. While the organization’s culture plays a role, eventually your organization has to assess not only its outcomes, but also the processes that are driving those outcomes.
With that in mind, Steven Meisel, a pharmacist at Fairview Health Services, created a patient safety self-assessment using information from a report published by AHRQ. The tool helps organizations evaluate whether 11 known safety practices are in place in their hospitals and to find areas for improvement. These 11 practices are:
Meisel’s self-assessment tool does require a bit of work. For instance, information must be collected on each of the 11 safety areas, which could include a review of patient records, direct observation, and an assessment of policies and procedures. Review and discuss any differences between perceptions and actual practice. However, the benefit of such rigor is that the organization will be able to identify areas of non-compliance and take corrective action.
Wait, We’re Not Done
There’s yet a third patient safety assessment you might want to consider. To help executives design safer work spaces, AHRQ funded the development of a Safety Risk Assessment Toolkit for facility designers. Developed by the Center for Health Design, the goal of the assessment is use enhanced facility design to improve patient safety in the following six areas:
The assessment addresses more than 200 potential environmental considerations for patient safety.
How to Bring It All Together
Regardless of how you assess patient safety in your organization, you need a way to not only capture and analyze the data, but also use that data to identify improvement opportunities. For this reason, Datix built DatixWeb, a web-based patient safety software solution for healthcare risk management applications, delivering safety, risk and governance elements through a variety of integrated software modules.
DatixWeb is the first stage in the Datix Quality Improvement Loop, which enables healthcare organizations where improvements can be made, showing undesired and unintended outcomes following delivery of care.