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Changing patient safety culture in China: a case study of an experimental Chinese hospital from a comparative perspective

Authors Xu XP, Deng DN, Gu YH, Ng CS, Cai X, Xu J, Zhang XS, Ke DG, Yu QH, Chan CK

Received 17 September 2017

Accepted for publication 16 January 2018

Published 1 May 2018 Volume 2018:11 Pages 83—98


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Kent Rondeau

Video abstract presented by Dong Ning Deng.

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Xiao Ping Xu,* Dong Ning Deng,* Yong Hong Gu, Chui Shan Ng, Xiao Cai, Jun Xu, Xin Shi Zhang, Dong Ge Ke, Qian Hui Yu, Chi Kuen Chan

Clinical Service Department, The University of Hong Kong - Shenzhen Hospital, Shenzhen, Guangdong, People’s Republic of China

*These authors contributed equally to this work

Background: The World Health Organization highlights that patient safety interventions are not lacking but that the local context affects their successful implementation. Increasing attention is being paid to patient safety in Mainland China, yet few studies focus on patient safety in organizations with mixed cultures. This paper evaluates the current patient safety culture in an experimental Chinese hospital with a Hong Kong hospital management culture, and it aims to explore the application of Hong Kong’s patient safety strategies in the context of Mainland China.
Methods: A quantitative survey of 307 hospital staff members was conducted using the Hospital Survey on Patient Safety Culture questionnaire. The findings were compared with a similar study on general Chinese hospitals and were appraised with reference to the Manchester Patient Safety Framework.
Results: Lower scores were observed among participants with the following characteristics: males, doctors, those with more work experience, those with higher education, and those from the general practice and otolaryngology departments. However, the case study hospital achieved better scores in management expectations, actions and support for patient safety, incident reporting and communication, and teamwork within units. Its weaknesses were related to non-punitive responses to errors, teamwork across units, and staffing.
Conclusions: The case study hospital contributes to a changing patient safety culture in Mainland China, yet its patient safety culture remains mostly bureaucratic. Further efforts could be made to deepen the staff’s patient safety culture mind-set, to realize a “bottom-up” approach to cultural change, to build up a comprehensive and integrated incident management system, and to improve team building and staffing for patient safety.

Keywords: patient safety, culture, Chinese hospital

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