Survey on patient safety culture in the Republic of Moldova: a baseline study in three healthcare settings

Clujul Med. 2018;91(1):65-74. doi: 10.15386/cjmed-869. Epub 2018 Jan 15.


Background and aims: The Republic of Moldova is a small ex-soviet country in the Central Eastern European group of states, whose official language is Romanian. In countries with limited resources, quality improvement in healthcare and patient safety are very challenging. This study aims to identify which areas of the patient safety culture (PSC) need prompt intervention.

Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted in three Moldovan healthcare settings, using the Romanian translation of the US Hospital Survey on Patient Safety Culture HSOPSC. Descriptive statistics were carried out, based on the responses from n. 929 staff. Percentages of positive responses (PPRs) by item (41 items) and composite (12 PSC areas) were computed.

Results: Most respondents were nurses (53%), followed by doctors (35%). The main work areas were: primary care (27%), medical specialties (20%), gynecology and obstetrics (16%), and general surgery (11%). The highest composite PPRs were for: teamwork within units (80%), feedback & communication about error, organizational learning-continuous improvement and supervisor/manager expectations & actions promoting patient safety (78%), and management support for patient safety (75%). The lowest composites were for: frequency of events reported (57%), non-punitive response to errors (53%), communication openness (51%) and staffing (37%).

Conclusion: Our results suggest that staffing issues should be tackled to provide safe care. Staff avoid to openly report adverse events and/or discuss errors, likely because a poor understanding of the potential of these events for learning and because of fear of blame or punitive actions. Future research should check psychometrics of the Romanian version of the HSOPSC applied to Moldovan staff.

Keywords: Republic of Moldova; low-income country; organizational culture; patient safety; survey.