Frequently Asked Questions

Check to find the answers to your questions about the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) programs and activities. You can search by category or key words. You can also send us your questions or website feedback here. We will respond to your requests based on the best available scientific evidence and research from our Agency.

AHRQ cannot provide diagnoses or specific medical advice to individuals on their personal health conditions and situations.


Ask a question, report a problem, or give us your opinion about a specific AHRQ program.



 
There are a total of 51 items in the survey and it takes approximately 10 minutes to complete. Most of the items use Agree/Disagree or Never/Always response categories, so they are easy to answer. There is room for written comments at the end of the survey.
In small offices with a solo practitioner or two providers, rather than administering the survey, it can be used as a tool to initiate open dialog or discussion about patient safety and quality issues among providers and staff. In health systems or multisite practices, the survey may be administered in smaller offices if the responses are aggregated and only reported at the larger practice or system level. Aggregating the responses would help maintain the confidential nature of individual responses in small offices.
Unfortunately, the SOPS databases currently accept data from only the United States and U.S. territories. However, we would like to know more about what your plans are or what you have done with the surveys in your country. Please feel free to share with us information about your use of the AHRQ Surveys on Patient Safety Culture in your country.

The following SOPS surveys and supplemental items are available in Spanish:

We conducted cognitive testing with Spanish speaking participants in the United States to ensure that the items are understood in the Spanish speaking community.

For the purposes of the Medical Office Survey on Patient Safety Culture, the survey was designed to be appropriate for any specialty. Your office may provide primary care services only, other specialty care services only, or a mix of primary and specialty care services.
There are a total of 51 items in the survey and it takes approximately 10 to 15 minutes to complete. Most of the items use Agree/Disagree or Never/Always response categories, so they are easy to answer. There is room for written comments at the end of the survey.

Please contact the Surveys on Patient Safety Culture team (SafetyCultureSurveys@westat.com) to request AHRQ’s permission to translate and/or use the surveys internationally.

For more information about international use of the Surveys on Patient Safety Culture, go to the SOPS International Users page.

AHRQ established the Medical Office SOPS Database as a central repository for survey data from the Medical Office SOPS. AHRQ has produced Database Reports, which aggregate data from thousands of medical offices that have voluntarily submitted their data to the database. The database serves as an important resource for patient safety culture improvement.

Information about eligibility requirements, registration procedures, and benefits of participating in the database is available on the SOPS site.

The Patient Safety Act authorizes AHRQ to designate or "list" an entity as a Patient Safety Organization (PSO). With some restrictions, a PSO can be any public or private entity. To become or remain an AHRQ-listed PSO, the entity must meet certain requirements such as the utilization of qualified staff and the provision of appropriate security measures with respect to Patient Safety Work Product (PSWP). The work of a PSO is not federally funded. Rather, PSOs may serve as contractors to providers for the analysis and feedback of confidential and privileged information related to patient safety and health care quality.

For more information, go to the PSO website: https://pso.ahrq.gov.

Patient Safety Organizations (PSOs) serve as independent, external experts who can assist providers in analyzing data that a provider voluntarily chooses to report to the PSO. Providers that work with a PSO can benefit from the ability of PSOs to aggregate data from all of the providers reporting to the PSO, enabling PSOs to accumulate large numbers of patient safety events essential for identifying patterns and trends, and to facilitate the identification of underlying causes of infrequent, but often tragic, adverse events.

When a health care provider, including a multi-facility health care system, works with a PSO, it can collect, manage, and analyze data within a protected legal environment, both within and across states, without the fear that information will be used against those providers, thus removing significant barriers that can deter providers' participation in patient safety and quality improvement initiatives.

To help providers select an appropriate PSO, AHRQ has published a summary, "Choosing a Patient Safety Organization" (PDF, 1 MB).



Ask a question, report a problem, or give us your opinion about a specific AHRQ program.