Does improving safety culture affect patient outcomes? Whether improving safety culture has an impact on patient and staff outcomes

November 2011

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Key points

  • There is an increasing focus on ways to measure and improve safety culture in health care.
  • This research scan examines whether improving safety culture has an impact on patient and staff outcomes.

Safety culture refers to the way patient safety is thought about, structured and implemented in an organisation. Safety climate is a subset of this, focused on staff attitudes about patient safety.

In recent years, a great deal of research has explored ways to measure safety culture and safety climate in health care. There is a growing emphasis on interventions to improve organisational safety culture and staff attitudes towards safety. It is assumed that improving safety culture will directly or indirectly affect patient outcomes. This evidence scan examines whether there is any empirical evidence to support this assumption.

Further reading

Evidence scan

Measuring safety culture

A brief overview of some of the tools available to measure safety culture and climate in health care.

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