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Perceptions of Hospital Safety Climate and Incidence of Readmission

Keywords: Safety culture; safety climate; hospital readmission

Objective. To define the relationship between hospital patient safety climate (a measure of hospitals' organizational culture as related to patient safety) and hospitals' rates of rehospitalization within 30 days of discharge.

Data Sources. A safety climate survey administered to a random sample of hospital employees (n=36,375) in 2006–2007 and risk-standardized hospital readmission rates from 2008.

Study Design. Cross-sectional study of 67 hospitals.

Data Collection. Robust multiple regressions used 30-day risk-standardized readmission rates as dependent variables in separate disease-specific models (acute myocardial infarction [AMI], heart failure [HF], pneumonia), and measures of safety climate as independent variables. We estimated separate models for all hospital staff as well as physicians, nurses, hospital senior managers, and frontline staff.

Principal Findings. There was a significant positive association between lower safety climate and higher readmission rates for AMI and HF (p?.05 for both models). Frontline staff perceptions of safety climate were associated with readmission rates (p?.01), but senior management perceptions were not. Physician and nurse perceptions related to AMI and HF readmissions, respectively.

Conclusions. Our findings indicate that hospital patient safety climate is associated with readmission outcomes for AMI and HF and those associations were management level and discipline specific.

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