Blog | Thursday, February 23, 2012

QD: News Every Day--Hospital staff worried about culture of reporting mistakes

Hospital staff fee like hospitals support patient safety, yet hold reporting mistakes against the staff, reports the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ).

The agency reported the results of its "Hospital Survey on Patient Safety Culture: 2012 User Comparative Database Report."

In tallying specific responses to questions, staff responded in the negative (such as "disagree" or "strongly disagree") with statements that detailed nonpunitive responses to errors. Three questions included like their mistakes are held against them (50%), the person is being written up instead of the problem (46%), or staff worry that mistake are kept in their personnel files (35%).

Other areas included handoffs and transitions. Respondents reported (again, percentages reflect negative responses such as "disagree" or "strongly disagree") that things fall between the cracks when patients transfer across units (41%) or that information gets lost among shift changes (51%).

On the positive side, however, respondents agreed with statements that hospital management provides a work climate that promotes patient safety (81%) and that their actions show that safety is a priority (75%).

In comparison, office-based staffers reported in an AHRQ survey from 2010 that office processes were good at preventing mistakes (79%). In other questions, they responded in the negative (again, a response such as "disagree" or "strongly disagree") that mistakes happen more often than they should (70%), it's just by chance that more mistakes don't happen (74%) and getting more work done is more important than quality of care (73%).

The 2012 user comparative database report displays results from 1,128 hospitals and 567,703 hospital staff respondents. It was designed to assess hospital staff opinions about patient safety issues, medical errors, and event reporting. The survey includes 42 items that measure 12 areas of patient safety culture. AHRQ also conducts surveys for physician practices and nursing homes.