September/November 2006

Culture of Safety Survey Complete

All of Catholic Health Initiatives’ market-based organizations have completed the Culture of Safety Survey from the federal Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), establishing baseline measures of safety for individual facilities and the system as a whole. Completion of the survey was an important part of Catholic Health Initiatives’ patient safety agenda for fiscal year 2006. Jeff Norton, director of clinical services for Catholic Health Initiatives, said the survey helped to increase awareness of patient safety issues. “More than 14,000 surveys were completed throughout the system,” he said. “The results are now available on Catholic Health Initiatives’ intranet, Inside CHI, so facilities can see how they compare to others within the system. However, the intention of the survey was not to ‘rank’ facilities in terms of patient safety, but to identify areas in which the facilities and our system can improve patient safety.” The aggregate survey results identified areas of excellence in patient safety within Catholic Health Initiatives, including staff teamwork and the setting of expectations for patient safety. The results also identified areas in which safety can be enhanced, including patient handoffs and transitions between groups of caregivers; building a non-punitive reporting culture; and operating safely during times of increased workload. Catholic Health Initiatives’ Patient Safety Work Group will provide facilities with support in these areas through audio conferences and other educational offerings during the coming year. Catholic Health Initiatives completed the survey process at a cost of just $1,300 per facility. “We made the process easy, fast and inexpensive for our facilities, and we are extremely pleased with their response and participation,” said Norton. Catholic Health Initiatives’ approach to survey distribution and completion has even been adopted by other health care systems. “That’s a great endorsement of the commitment to patient safety that is present throughout our system.” For more information about the Culture of Safety Survey and its results, contact Jeff Norton at