Press Ganey Report on Health Care Safety Culture Prior to and During the COVID-19 Pandemic Finds Downward Trend Continues

Mar 17, 2021

Areas related to staffing, job stress, and organizational commitment to patient and caregiver safety are hardest hit.

BOSTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- Press Ganey today released its newest research brief, Reverse the Trend: Improving Safety Culture in the COVID-19 Era. Analyses of national safety culture data and trends prior to and during the COVID-19 pandemic reveal that after a period of modest improvement from 2017 to 2019, scores for most safety culture themes declined in 2020. The report serves as an urgent call to action as caregivers’ perceptions of safety culture are a leading indicator of future safety outcomes. The report provides key takeaways and critical, high-impact strategies to improve safety culture and reverse the downward trend.

Key findings include the following.

  • Scores for most safety culture themes declined in 2020, particularly in the categories of Prevention & Reporting and Resources & Teamwork. Scores for Pride & Reputation remained steady over time.
  • Scores reflecting staffing, job stress, and both caregiver and patient safety saw the greatest drop-off in 2020.
  • Leaders should focus on safety culture fundamentals that yield significant return such as Leaders’ Messaging on Safety, outlined in the report.

“The magnitude of the COVID-19 outbreak and the rapidly evolving risks and needs left health systems overburdened and vulnerable to safety culture deterioration, which has the potential to impact safety outcomes,” said Dr. Tejal Gandhi, Chief Safety & Transformation Officer, Press Ganey. “Fortunately, the downward trend we’ve identified can be reversed. High reliability principles are the foundation of a strong safety culture and help hardwire processes and behaviors that prepare an organization to respond effectively to new challenges. As the United States cautiously moves out of crisis mode, reinvigorating safety culture should be top of mind at all health systems for the benefit of all patients and caregivers.”

In November 2019, Press Ganey announced the launch of its Safety 2025 initiative, with the goal of an 80% reduction in preventable harm to patients and caregivers by 2025. Since then, more than 300 acute care and 1,100 non-acute care facilities have joined the movement.

“As further demonstration of our organization-wide commitment to advancing the industry to Zero Harm, I am pleased to announce that we are opening access to the next three sessions of our signature Safety 2025 High Reliability Learning Series to all health care organizations,” said Nell Buhlman, President and COO, Press Ganey. “This collaborative forum facilitates peer-to-peer learning and sharing of best practices and proven strategies to enhance health care safety culture and high reliability processes. We invite all interested parties to register now for the first session.”

A PDF of the white paper, Reverse the Trend: Improving Safety Culture in the COVID-19 Era, is available for download. A link to a companion piece, Zero Harm: First-Focus Fundamentals for Safety Culture Transformation, is embedded within the PDF.

About Press Ganey

Press Ganey pioneered the health care performance improvement movement 35 years ago. Today Press Ganey offers an integrated suite of solutions that enable enterprise transformation across the patient journey. Delivered through a cutting-edge digital platform built on a foundation of data security, Press Ganey solutions address safety, clinical excellence, patient experience, and workforce engagement. The company works with more than 41,000 health care facilities in its mission to reduce patient suffering and enhance caregiver resilience to improve the overall safety, quality, and experience of care.

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Source: Press Ganey