Studies by Bryan Sexton, a former faculty member at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine who created the robust Safety Attitudes Questionnaire, show a positive correlation between a high culture of safety score with higher staff retention and improved clinical outcomes, including:
- Reduced length of stay
- Fewer medication errors
- Lower rates of ventilator-associated pneumonia
- Lower rates of bloodstream infection rates
- Fewer decubitus ulcers
- Higher employee morale
- Lower staff burnout
- Less absenteeism
The Joint Commission’s leadership standards specify that leaders must create a culture of safety and quality throughout the hospital. The elements of performance for this standard are that leaders regularly evaluate the culture of safety and quality using valid and reliable tools.
Further, National Quality Forum’s Safe Practice #2 on Culture, Measurement, Feedback and Intervention suggests that “healthcare organizations must measure their culture, provide feedback to the leadership and staff, and undertake interventions that will reduce patient safety risk.”
Other safety initiatives depend on the existence of a workplace culture that is intrinsically motivated to improve reduce errors and complications, rather than by external factors such as accreditation requirements. The Center for Innovation’s programs help units to generate this inward-looking focus to safety, allowing caregivers to identify and mitigate the hazards that their patients face every day.