How baseline measures help improve a safety culture — 6 insights from The Joint Commission

In a blog post, The Joint Commission's High Reliability Initiatives Director Coleen Smith shared her thoughts on the sixth tenet of safety culture: determining an organizational baseline measure on safety culture performance using a validated tool.

Here's what you should know:

1. For healthcare organizations, evaluating safety culture without burdening employees can be a challenge, however The Joint Commission offers two survey tools designed to improve safety culture.

2. The Hospital Survey on Patient Safety Culture is a 12-point survey which compares safety data on a national scale. It surveys several elements including: communication openness, feedback and communication about errors, and event frequency, among others.

3. The Joint Commission also has its Safety Attitudes Questionnaire. The questionnaire measures six culture domains centered on safety.

4. Both surveys are viable options to provide organizations perspective on their health center's safety culture.

5. To battle survey fatigue, organizations need to use the survey results to implement change. By showing employees their input was valued, it increases survey participation rates.

6. The Joint Commission also recommends goal setting. Setting goals to improve safety measures is beneficial to health systems. The goals should be treated similar to financial performance or patient satisfaction goals.

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