Qual Saf Health Care 12:ii17-ii23 doi:10.1136/qhc.12.suppl_2.ii17
  • Original Article

Safety culture assessment: a tool for improving patient safety in healthcare organizations

  1. V F Nieva,
  2. J Sorra
  1. Westat, Research Blvd, Rockville, MD 20850, USA
  1. Correspondence to:
 Dr V F Nieva
 Vice President, Westat, 1650 Research Blvd, Rockville, MD 20850, USA; veronicanieva{at}


    Increasingly, healthcare organizations are becoming aware of the importance of transforming organizational culture in order to improve patient safety. Growing interest in safety culture has been accompanied by the need for assessment tools focused on the cultural aspects of patient safety improvement efforts. This paper discusses the use of safety culture assessment as a tool for improving patient safety. It describes the characteristics of culture assessment tools presently available and discusses their current and potential uses, including brief examples from healthcare organizations that have undertaken such assessments. The paper also highlights critical processes that healthcare organizations need to consider when deciding to use these tools.


    • The contents of this paper are the work of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the opinions, recommendations, or practices of Westat.