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5 tactics that broadcast patient safety culture to improve survey rates

 5 tactics that broadcast patient safety culture to improve survey rates

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality’s Surveys on Patient Safety Culture™ polls staff for their opinions every two years. That is an eternity inside facilities where big changes can happen fast: from patient referral trends to quality improvement focus to workforce turnover.

With all these demands, it’s easy for safety and culture to become just words and the importance of the SOPS® to lapse over time — among those who administer it and those who complete it (or don’t).

With creative ideas and proven response rate tactics, hospitals can use the SOPS® survey to reinforce positive awareness and participation, support more patient safety activities and promote efforts that celebrate wins and build on successes. 

1. Raise patient safety and survey awareness among staff

Relevant, fresh communications are important, so frame each survey as a new opportunity to elevate patient safety. Awareness campaigns can promote time blocks to complete the survey and quick survey wins, such as teams that have responded rapidly and completely.

Such campaigns provide real-time survey details that stress the importance of staff feedback. Internal safety scorecards are another way to boost survey responses. Tips two through four highlight the ways hospitals can use the scorecards to communicate patient safety culture, current and desired.

2. Assess and communicate the current culture

With an internal scorecard that identifies top safety metrics, teams can rally, collaborate and compete on performance and how to improve it. Metric examples might include:

  • feedback and communication about care delivery errors and omissions;
  • teamwork across units; and
  • care handoffs and transitions.

Transparency about the hospital's current safety state can increase the staff's survey response rates. AHRQ’s Patient Safety Network describes the fundamentals for patient safety in more depth. 

3. Identify challenges and opportunities to improve patient safety culture

Celebrate what works well and what doesn’t to drive accountability. Again, a scorecard can track wins and opportunities across risk areas; drive staff engagement on correction and growth plans; and transform the administrative load of the survey into an act-and-improve event.

4. Examine trends

Scorecards can track trends over time. Hospitals that compare performance against national and system-wide data can further enhance their understanding of patient safety culture. They can share these trends annually to make action plans more accessible and reward teams that consistently lead and improve their patient safety culture results.

5. Evaluate safety initiative impact

Tie survey results to specific safety initiatives to increase survey participation. Outcomes reflect the impact of past action plans, suggest future ones and point to where to invest resources. For example, ask employees to use the comment section to remark on particular initiatives, and then, assess the impact of this input on patient safety culture.

Safety awareness and safety survey response are entwined

With effective preparation and a willingness to embrace staff opinions, the Surveys on Patient Safety Culture™ Hospital Survey can pull double duty in patient safety improvements.

DataGen helps hospitals track and launch a robust SOPS®. Contact us today to leverage your safety surveys for maximum input and impact.

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