Surveys on Patient Safety Culture

National Center for Interprofessional Practice and Education's picture
Submitted by National Center... on Oct 18, 2016 - 2:56pm CDT

Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ)

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) has developed a suite of provider surveys addressing questions related to quality care and patient safety.  Five different version of the survey exist, and they are customized for five different clinical settings: ambulatory surgery center, community pharmacy, hospital, medical office, and nursing home.  The AHRQ provides planning resources and maintains a national database with comparative data for participating organizations.  The purpose of the survey is to promote organizational learning and change.  Results can be used to raise awareness, diagnosis current organizational culture, evaluate patient safety interventions, and conduct internal and external comparisons.  Although interprofessional, collaborative practice is not identified by name, many of the items are related to teamwork, coordination, mutual respect, support, and inclusion.


Link to Resources
Descriptive Elements
Who is Being Assessed or Evaluated?: 
Informal groups, networks, colleagues
Instrument Type: 
Self-report (e.g., survey, questionnaire, self-rating)
Source of Data: 
Health care providers, staff
Instrument Content: 
Reported perceptions, experiences of working relationships, teamwork
Organizational environment, culture
Organizational outcomes of care (e.g., provider satisfaction, nurse turnover)
Notes for Content: 

Each survey is customized for its particular organization, but the overarching themes are quality of care and patient safety.  Some items are repeated across surveys.  Some common sub-themes are:

  • Work load
  • Supervision, management, organization of care
  • Frequency of near misses, adverse events, "mistakes"
  • Culture of blame vs. learning and problem-solving
  • Communication, coordination
  • Respect, mutual trust, support
  • Freedom to speak up, suggestions valued
  • Provider satisfaction


Instrument Length: 

Each survey is customized for the particular organization in question.  The Ambulatory Surgery Survey is 4 pages; the Community Pharmacy Survey is 4 pages; the Hospital Survey is 5 pages; the Medical Office Survey is 7 pages; and the Nursing Home Survey is 6 pages.

Item Format: 
Various combinations of Likert-type agree / disagree scales along with multiple choice or dichotomous items. The surveys end with a 5-point scale for "final patient safety grade" ( 1 = "poor," 2 = "fair," 3 = "good," 4 = "very good," and 5 = "excellent"). Additionally, there is space for write in comments.
Self-administered by organizations.
See the AHRQ website for scheduled submission dates to AHRQ to be included in their national data base and reporting. Not every survey is analyzed every year. For example, in 2017, only the Hospital Survey (June) and the Medical Office Survey (September) are scheduled for submission and analysis.
English, Spanish
As reported on their website: "AHRQ has established comparative databases as central repositories for survey data from organizations that have administered the AHRQ patient safety culture survey instruments. The databases serve as important resources for sites wishing to compare their patient safety culture survey results to those of other sites in support of patient safety culture improvement."
Open access (available on this website)
Psychometric Elements: Evidence of Validity
See link above to research references.
Response Process: 
See link above to research references.
Internal Structure: 
See link above to research references.
Relation to Other Variables: 
See link above to research references.
See link above to research references.