Patient safety dialogue: evaluation of an intervention aimed at achieving an improved patient safety culture

J Patient Saf. 2011 Dec;7(4):185-92. doi: 10.1097/PTS.0b013e318230e702.


Objectives: Patient Safety Dialogue, a local intervention inspired by walk round-style approaches, was implemented in 2005 in a Swedish county council to achieve a positive patient safety culture in health care. This paper evaluates the results and changes after 5 years of the Patient Safety Dialogue in 50 departments (37 medical and 13 psychiatric) in 3 hospitals.

Methods: The patient safety culture maturity was rated on 5 levels that correspond with the Manchester Patient Safety Assessment Framework. The assessment was based on information supplied by the departments and discussions between clinical leaders and staff members with special patient safety assignments and representatives from a patient safety unit. Three patient safety areas were assessed: hospital-acquired infections, outcome measurements, and general patient safety. Each department was assessed 3 times: at baseline and at follow-ups at 18 and 36 months. Average scores were calculated for each of the 3 safety areas on all occasions. The departments were classified into 3 types of trajectories on the basis of the development of their scores over time.

Results: More than two-thirds of the departments attained higher scores in round 3 than in round 1. Seventy-eight percent of the departments in the general patient safety area were categorized as continuously improving or developing, compared with 68% for outcome measurement and 50% for hospital-acquired infection. Approximately one-third was categorized as nonimproving, with scores in round 3 lower than or equal to the scores in round 1. The medical departments had higher scores than the psychiatric departments in all rounds.

Conclusions: Most of the 50 departments were evaluated to have improved their patient safety culture during the 5 years of the Patient Safety Dialogue, suggesting that the intervention is effective in supporting an improved patient safety culture. However, one-third of the departments did not improve during the 5-year study period.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study

MeSH terms

  • Communication
  • Confidence Intervals
  • Cross Infection / prevention & control*
  • Health Status Indicators
  • Humans
  • Leadership
  • Organizational Culture*
  • Patient Care / standards*
  • Patient Safety / standards*
  • Quality Improvement
  • Quality of Health Care / standards*
  • Safety Management / methods
  • Sweden