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Keywords:

  • Medical error;
  • organization culture;
  • patient safety culture;
  • safety climate

Abstract

Background

Quite a number of articles on patient safety culture have been published in recent 10 years to assess the safety culture in hospitals using the Hospital Survey on Patient Safety Culture in many countries. However, until now there have been no relevant studies to investigate the quality of these, and their contribution to present-day thinking.

Objectives

The aim of this study was to explore the areas of theme, and the study design of published research on patient safety culture in literature published in English and Chinese language journals.

Methods

We searched the major databases, including MEDLINE, EMbase, Chinese Biomedical Literature Database, Chinese Journals Full-text Database, and to analyze the publication years, research themes, authors’ affiliations and methodologies of articles published from January 2001 to December 2011. Quality and statistical method were only appraised by classification of study designs.

Results

The annual number of published articles on patient safety culture was increasing in the last decade, and the number of articles published in 2010 and 2011 reached its peak with 86 articles accounting for 44.6% of the decade's publication; patient safety culture scale dominated the included literature, accounting for 67.8% of all studies. Cross-sectional studies and commentary reviews were the most popular study designs which took up approximately 95.9% of the included studies with 66.9% (129 articles) and 29.0% (56 articles), respectively. All the included studies on patient safety culture were conducted in the following four institutions: hospitals, geracomium, Veterans Health Administration hospitals, and medical schools.

Conclusions

There is a growing change trend in the number of articles on patient safety culture research in recent 10 years, most of which are non-comparative studies. More methodologically rigorous designs are needed to improve research quality on patient safety culture.