Rural Hospitals (Flex Program)

Document Type

Briefing Paper

Publication Date



MRHRC, Patient Safety Culture, USM, patient safety

Funding Organization or Grant

Federal Office of Rural Health Policy (PHS Grant No. U27RH01080)


The authors discuss the use of patient safety culture surveys as a means to promote organizational learning and build a culture of safety. Detailed information on the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) Hospital Survey on Patient Safety Culture and adaptation for use in rural hospitals is available in the Briefing Paper. A listing of additional tools and resources to enhance patient safety culture is provided in both the Policy Brief and the Briefing Paper. Key Facts: Establishing a culture of patient safety includes promoting a non-punitive environment of shared accountability (a just culture), encouragement to report errors (a reporting culture), and development of a learning culture. Research demonstrates a positive relationship between organizational culture and safety outcomes for both patients and employees. Use of the AHRQ Hospital Survey on Patient Safety Culture has been effective for planning, implementing, and evaluating targeted patient safety interventions in Critical Access Hospitals.