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Survey to assess staff, faculty perceptions on patient safety

Apr. 24, 2014, 9:26 AM

In May, Vanderbilt University Medical Center will launch a survey of clinical staff and faculty to assess attitudes and perceptions regarding patient safety at the Medical Center.

Developed by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, the Hospital Survey on Patient Safety Culture is used in hundreds of hospitals around the country, has been regularly conducted at Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt, and in 2010 and 2012 was administered across selected areas of VUMC’s adult clinical enterprise.

This will be Vanderbilt’s first annual house-wide use of the survey.

“With this short, anonymous survey we’re again going to reach out to patient care team members for their views on the safety culture as they see it here at Vanderbilt,” said Gerald Hickson, M.D., senior vice president for Quality, Patient Safety and Risk Prevention, whose office will conduct the survey.

“Safety ought to be an explicit feature of our organizational culture, something that’s actively fostered at all levels of the organization. With the survey we’re going to test our culture in this regard, and use the responses to help guide our improvement efforts.”

The 10- to 15-minute survey probes perceptions about how the organization is doing in terms of such things as open communication and transparency concerning patient safety, continuous learning and improvement, adverse event reporting, staffing patterns and patient handover processes.

Sample questions include:

• Do you feel free to speak up?

• Do things fall through the cracks?

• Does your team learn from mistakes?

Advocates of the survey include health care payers and assessment groups, such as the Leapfrog Group and the Joint Commission.

Hickson’s office will help managers and faculty leaders communicate results of the survey at the departmental level and mount targeted improvement efforts to support the safety culture at VUMC.

Clinical staff and faculty should look for a link to the online survey in their e-mail inbox in May.

The survey opening schedule is:

• May 1 for staff and faculty of Children’s Hospital.

• May 8 for Vanderbilt residents and fellows.

• May 15 for staff and faculty working in Vanderbilt University Hospital and Clinics.

The survey will remain open for 30 days.

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