Introduction: The Patient Safety Leadership Walkabout (PSLWA) programme is a commonly employed tool in the West, in which senior leaders visit sites within the hospital that are involved in patient care to talk to healthcare staff about patient safety issues. As there is a lack of perspective regarding PSLWA in Asia, we carried out an evaluation of its effectiveness in improving the patient safety culture in Tan Tock Seng Hospital, Singapore.
Methods: A mixed methods analysis approach was used to review and evaluate all documents, protocols, meeting minutes, post-walkabout surveys, action plans and verbal feedback pertaining to the walkabouts conducted from January 2005 to October 2012.
Results: A total of 321 patient safety issues were identified during the study period. Of these, 308 (96.0%) issues were resolved as of November 2012. Among the various categories of issues raised, issues related to work environment were the most common (45.2%). Of all the issues raised during the walkabouts, 72.9% were not identified through other conventional methods of error detection. With respect to the hospital's patient safety culture, 94.8% of the participants reported an increased awareness in patient safety and 90.2% expressed comfort in openly and honestly discussing patient safety issues.
Conclusion: PSLWA serves as a good tool to uncover latent errors before actual harm reaches the patient. If properly implemented, it is an effective method for engaging leadership, identifying patient safety issues, and supporting a culture of patient safety in the hospital setting.