Journal Article

Differing perceptions of safety culture across job roles in the ambulatory setting: analysis of the AHRQ Medical Office Survey on Patient Safety Culture.

Hickner J, Smith SA, Yount N, et al. BMJ quality & safety. 2016;25:588-94.

Studies of safety culture have consistently found that management has more positive perceptions of safety than frontline workers. This analysis of data from the AHRQ Medical Office Survey on Patient Safety Culture explored this finding in greater depth. The study examines the specific areas where perceptions of safety diverged between medical office management, physicians, and staff from more than 800 clinics. The investigators found that staff (including physicians and nurses) had markedly lower perceptions of the quality of staff training in patient safety and the openness of communication around safety issues compared with management. Consistent with other studies, management also had a much higher perception of overall safety than staff. As high reliability organizations rely on shared goals and open communication to ensure situational awareness, variations in perceptions of safety culture across professional roles will impair an organization's ability to address safety issues.