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PSNet: Patient Safety Network
Journal Article

Measuring patient safety climate: a review of surveys.

Colla JB, Bracken AC, Kinney LM, et al. Quality & safety in health care. 2005;14:364-6.

This systematic review compares the features of nine different safety culture survey tools. The paper usefully includes a detailed table that highlights characteristics and limitations of each tool. The authors caution that interpreting climate surveys can be challenging and note the limited data linking better or improved safety climate on meaningful patient outcomes. In fact, at this point, only the Safety Attitudes Questionnaire (SAQ) has been subjected to studies determining whether better scores are associated with improved outcomes; such studies have demonstrated a relationship between higher SAQ scores and lower medication error and risk-adjusted mortality rates. Although many organizations are using these survey tools to better understand their safety culture, the ultimate role of these tools in improving care remains somewhat uncertain.