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Mixed methods: improving the assessment of safety culture in healthcare

Mixed methods: improving the assessment of safety culture in healthcare

Safety culture is the way in which organizations live and breathe safety. It is the foundation of delivering quality care as a positive safety culture is linked to favorable staff safety behavior and patient outcomes.

If there is to be improvement in the quality of healthcare, the assessment of safety culture is paramount as the results have the potential to enable an organization to understand its strengths and weaknesses with regards to where they should target change. For example, assessment of safety culture can contribute to the decision making processes for healthcare leaders dealing with challenges related to lack of trust within the organization.

In this position paper, we make the case for using a mixed methods approach, in which quantitative and qualitative methods are combined, to improve the accuracy of results for when a healthcare organization’s safety culture is assessed. The mixed methods approach has been tested by DNV GL, Strategic Research and Innovation, Healthcare Program, in healthcare settings in several countries. Early results from the testing and development are outlined in this paper. The results suggest that a mixed methods approach is useful in assisting healthcare organizations to better understand their safety culture in order to improve practices.

Preliminary results of the studies offer suggestions for practical steps for the assessment of safety culture in healthcare: combining quantitative and qualitative assessment. This position paper describes how best to use the results and achieve maximum value for organizational learning.

Read the paper here

“[Safety culture matters because] the simple fact that companies with similar technology, management systems, and other pre-conditions to safety have significant differences in their safety performance”
– Sondre Øie, Senior Consultant, DNV GL Oil and Gas


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