Exploring relationships between patient safety culture and patients' assessments of hospital care

J Patient Saf. 2012 Sep;8(3):131-9. doi: 10.1097/PTS.0b013e318258ca46.


Objectives: The purpose of this study was to examine relationships among 2 Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality measures of hospital patient safety and quality, which reflect different perspectives on hospital performance: the Hospital Survey on Patient Safety Culture (Hospital SOPS)-a hospital employee patient safety culture survey-and the Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems Hospital Survey (CAHPS Hospital Survey)-a survey of the experiences of adult inpatients with hospital care and services. Our hypothesis was that these 2 measures would be positively related.

Methods: We performed multiple regressions to examine the relationships between the Hospital SOPS measures and CAHPS Hospital Survey measures, controlling for hospital bed size and ownership. Analyses were conducted at the hospital level with each survey's measures using data from 73 hospitals that administered both surveys during similar periods.

Results: Higher overall Hospital SOPS composite average scores were associated with higher overall CAHPS Hospital Survey composite average scores (r = 0.41, P < 0.01). Twelve of 15 Hospital SOPS measures were positively related to the CAHPS Hospital Survey composite average score after controlling for bed size and ownership, with significant standardized regression coefficients ranging from 0.25 to 0.38. None of the Hospital SOPS measures were significantly correlated with either of the two single-item CAHPS Hospital Survey measures (hospital rating and willingness to recommend).

Conclusions: This study found that hospitals where staff have more positive perceptions of patient safety culture tend to have more positive assessments of care from patients. This finding helps validate both surveys and suggests that improvements in patient safety culture may lead to improved patient experience with care. Further research is needed to determine the generalizability of these results to larger sets of hospitals, to hospital units, and to other settings of care.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Attitude of Health Personnel*
  • Health Care Surveys
  • Hospital Administration*
  • Hospital Bed Capacity
  • Humans
  • Inpatients / psychology
  • Inpatients / statistics & numerical data
  • Organizational Culture
  • Patient Safety*
  • Patient Satisfaction*
  • Quality Indicators, Health Care*
  • Regression Analysis
  • United States
  • United States Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality / standards