Skip to main content

01.12.2014 | Research article | Ausgabe 1/2014 Open Access

BMC Health Services Research 1/2014

Characteristics of unit-level patient safety culture in hospitals in Japan: a cross-sectional study

BMC Health Services Research > Ausgabe 1/2014
Shigeru Fujita, Kanako Seto, Takefumi Kitazawa, Kunichika Matsumoto, Tomonori Hasegawa
Wichtige Hinweise

Electronic supplementary material

The online version of this article (doi:10.​1186/​s12913-014-0508-2) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

Competing interests

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.



Patient safety culture (PSC) has an important role in determining safety and quality in healthcare. Currently, little is known about the status of unit-level PSC in hospitals in Japan. To develop appropriate strategies, characteristics of unit-level PSC should be investigated. Work units may be classified according to the characteristics of PSC, and common problems and appropriate strategies may be identified for each work unit category. This study aimed to clarify the characteristics of unit-level PSC in hospitals in Japan.


In 2012, a cross-sectional study was conducted at 18 hospitals in Japan. The Hospital Survey on Patient Safety Culture questionnaire, developed by the United States Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, was distributed to all healthcare workers (n =12,076). Percent positive scores for 12 PSC sub-dimensions were calculated for each unit, and cluster analysis was used to categorise the units according to the percent positive scores. A generalised linear mixed model (GLMM) was used to analyse the results of the cluster analysis, and odds ratios (ORs) for categorisation as high-PSC units were calculated for each unit type.


A total of 9,124 respondents (75.6%) completed the questionnaire, and valid data from 8,700 respondents (72.0%) were analysed. There were 440 units in the 18 hospitals. According to the percent positive scores for the 12 sub-dimensions, the 440 units were classified into 2 clusters: high-PSC units (n =184) and low-PSC units (n =256). Percent positive scores for all PSC sub-dimensions for high-PSC units were significantly higher than those for low-PSC units. The GLMM revealed that the combined unit type of `Obstetrics and gynaecology ward, perinatal ward or neonatal intensive care unit’ was significantly more likely to be categorised as high-PSC units (OR =9.7), and `Long-term care ward’ (OR =0.2), `Rehabilitation unit’ (OR =0.2) and `Administration unit’ (OR =0.3) were significantly less likely to be categorised as high-PSC units.


Our study findings demonstrate that PSC varies considerably among different unit types in hospitals in Japan. Factors contributing to low PSC should be identified and possible measures for improving PSC should be developed and initiated.
Über diesen Artikel

Weitere Artikel der Ausgabe 1/2014

BMC Health Services Research 1/2014 Zur Ausgabe

Reviewer acknowledgement

Reviewer acknowledgement 2013