Medical Office Survey Toolkit from AHRQ

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The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) has developed a survey that focuses on the culture of patient safety and healthcare quality within medical offices. Designed for use by an office with at least 3 providers, the Medical Office Survey Toolkit initiates open office dialog about patient safety and quality issues among providers and staff. It is important for a medical office to assess and identify their strengths and weaknesses on a regular basis for the improvement of patient safety.​

Medical Office Surveys:

The survey was designed to measure the culture of patient safety in medical offices with the following characteristics:

  • A medical office should be an outpatient facility in a specific location.
  • A medical office could be located in a building containing multiple medical offices, but each office in the building would be considered a separate medical office for the purposes of the survey.
  • Providers in a single medical office should share some or all administrative staff, such as receptionists and schedulers, and share some or all clinical support staff.

About AHRQ Surveys:

AHRQ also provides a Hospital Survey on Patient Safety Culture and a Nursing Home Survey on Patient Safety Culture. These surveys are available to the public for free, easy to use and also available in Spanish. AHRQ suggests that surveys be readministered at least six months apart for accurate results. The survey includes 51 items measuring 12 dimensions.Six of the survey dimensions are similar to dimensions in the Hospital Survey on Patient Safety Culture, although the items are different in the two surveys. The dimensions in the medical office survey are:

  1. Communication about errors.
  2. Communication openness.
  3. Information exchange with other settings.
  4. Office processes and standardization.
  5. Organizational learning.
  6. Overall perceptions of patient safety and quality.
  7. Owner/managing partner/leadership support for patient safety.
  8. Patient care tracking/followup.
  9. Patient safety and quality issues.
  10. Staff training.
  11. Teamwork.
  12. Work pressure and pace.

The remaining six survey dimensions are unique to the medical office survey with items that focus specifically on issues related to patient safety or quality of care in medical offices. In addition, the medical office survey includes three items about respondent background characteristics and two overall rating questions:

  1. How would they rate this medical office in five different areas of health care quality (patient-centered, effective, timely, efficient, and equitable)?
  2. How would they rate this medical office on patient safety?

Other surveys currently available include the Pharmacy Survey on Patient Safety Culture, the Nursing Home Survey on Patient Safety Culture and the Spanish Version of the Nursing Home and Hospital Surveys on Patient Safety Culture. Medical offices can compare their results with other medical offices.

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Article Sources

  • Surveys on Patient Safety Culture: Frequently Asked Questions. April 2010. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD.