Exploring relationships between hospital patient safety culture and Consumer Reports safety scores

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Background: A number of private and public companies calculate and publish proprietary hospital patient safety scores based on publicly available quality measures initially reported by the U.S. federal government. This study examines whether patient safety culture perceptions of U.S. hospital staff in a large national survey are related to publicly reported patient safety ratings of hospitals. Methods: The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality Hospital Survey on Patient Safety Culture (Hospital SOPS) assesses provider and staff perceptions of hospital patient safety culture. Consumer Reports (CR), a U.S. based non-profit organization, calculates and shares with its subscribers a Hospital Safety Score calculated annually from patient experience survey data and outcomes data gathered from federal databases. Linking data collected during similar time periods, we analyzed relationships between staff perceptions of patient safety culture composites and the CR Hospital Safety Score and its five components using multiple multivariate linear regressions. Results: We analyzed data from 164 hospitals, with patient safety culture survey responses from 140,316 providers and staff, with an average of 856 completed surveys per hospital and an average response rate per hospital of 56%. Higher overall Hospital SOPS composite average scores were significantly associated with higher overall CR Hospital Safety Scores (β = 0.24, p < 0.05). For 10 of the 12 Hospital SOPS composites, higher patient safety culture scores were associated with higher CR patient experience scores on communication about medications and discharge. Conclusion: This study found a relationship between hospital staff perceptions of patient safety culture and the Consumer Reports Hospital Safety Score, which is a composite of patient experience and outcomes data from federal databases. As hospital managers allocate resources to improve patient safety culture within their organizations, their efforts may also indirectly improve consumer-focused, publicly reported hospital rating scores like the Consumer Reports Hospital Safety Score.




Smith, S. A., Yount, N., & Sorra, J. (2017). Exploring relationships between hospital patient safety culture and Consumer Reports safety scores. BMC Health Services Research, 17(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12913-017-2078-6

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