Development of the just culture assessment tool: measuring the perceptions of health-care professionals in hospitals

J Patient Saf. 2013 Dec;9(4):190-7. doi: 10.1097/PTS.0b013e31828fff34.


Objectives: Given the growing support for establishing a just patient safety culture in health-care settings, a valid tool is needed to assess and improve just patient safety culture. The purpose of this study was to develop a measure of individual perceptions of just culture for a hospital setting.

Methods: The 27-item survey was administered to 998 members of a health-care staff in a pediatric research hospital as part of the hospital's ongoing patient safety culture assessment process. Subscales included balancing a blame-free approach with accountability, feedback and communication, openness of communication, quality of the event reporting process, continuous improvement, and trust. The final sample of 404 participants (40% response rate) included nurses, physicians, pharmacists, and other hospital staff members involved in patient care. Confirmatory factor analysis was used to test the internal structure of the measure and reliability analyses were conducted on the subscales.

Results: Moderate support for the factor structure was established with confirmatory factor analysis. After modifications were made to improve statistical fit, the final version of the measure included 6 subscales loading onto one higher-order dimension. Additionally, Cronbach α reliability scores for the subscales were positive, with each dimension being above 0.7 with the exception of one.

Conclusions: The instrument designed and tested in this study demonstrated adequate structure and reliability. Given the uniqueness of the current sample, further verification of the JCAT is needed from hospitals that serve broader populations. A validated tool could also be used to evaluate the relation between just culture and patient safety outcomes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Validation Study

MeSH terms

  • Factor Analysis, Statistical
  • Health Care Surveys
  • Hospitals, Pediatric / standards*
  • Humans
  • Organizational Culture*
  • Personnel, Hospital
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Safety Management / methods
  • Safety Management / standards*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires