Press Ganey Report Reveals Employee Perception of Safety Culture on the Rise, Even as Leadership

The findings demonstrate a need for senior leaders in healthcare to reinforce safety as a core organizational value in order to achieve zero harm

Press Ganey, the renowned leader in transforming the human experience (HX) across the healthcare ecosystem of patient, employee, member and consumer journeys, released findings from its annual safety culture trends report: Healing without harm: Safety culture trends 2023. This report, which looks at survey data from the past year, reveals a favorable shift in performance with the upward trending of perception of safety culture among clinical and nonclinical staff, even as perception continues to trend downward among senior leadership and physicians.

“It’s essential that organizations take steps to support their leaders and recommit to fostering a high reliability, zero harm culture for both patients and employees.”

The report outlines the key trends shaping safety culture in 2023 and recommends a number of high-impact actions for senior healthcare leaders to create and sustain safety culture across their organizations.

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“The data shows us that we are making incremental progress toward stronger safety culture as an industry, but we must do more to extend this success across organizations in a sustainable way. To accomplish this, healthcare organizations must recommit to a culture of safety, with clearly defined values and beliefs that mobilize employees in all roles to action,” said Dr. Tejal Gandhi, Chief Safety and Transformation Officer at Press Ganey. “The trends in our data paint a picture that can help shape how organizations make safety culture a reality moving forward.”

Key year-over-year findings include:

  • Employees overall perceived improvement in safety culture within their departments and teams. Results showed moderate but statistically significant gains among clinical and nonclinical employees alike, particularly related to elements of Resources & Teamwork, such as staffing, teamwork within the unit, communication, and job stress.
  • However, results reveal that employees don’t perceive aspects of safety culture to be as strong across their broader organizations, as reflected in lower scores related to Pride & Reputation.
  • Perceptions of safety culture among senior management continued to decline across all domains measured: Prevention & Reporting, Pride & Reputation, and Resources & Teamwork.
  • Physicians also saw a decline across all domains of safety culture. Most notably, the module with the largest decline for physicians was Pride & Reputation.

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Press Ganey’s analysis is based on safety culture survey responses from nearly 814,000 members of the healthcare workforce from 194 systems and 3,279 facilities, collected throughout the calendar year of 2022. Roles reflected include clinical professionals, nurses, advanced practice providers, physicians, clerical workers, licensed technical workers, security team members, skilled maintenance professionals, mid-level management, nonclinical professionals, and senior management.

“The improvements we see in this year’s report reflect the substantial efforts of organizations to counteract the effects of the pandemic and refocus on the core. To build on these improvements, senior leaders must redouble their commitment to safety as a key priority in every corner of the enterprise,” said Nell Buhlman, Chief Administrative Officer at Press Ganey. “It’s essential that organizations take steps to support their leaders and recommit to fostering a high reliability, zero harm culture for both patients and employees.”

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