Review: application of the Safety Attitudes Questionnaire (SAQ) in primary care - a systematic synthesis on validity, descriptive and comparative results, and variance across organisational units

BMC Primary Care(2024)

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Patient safety research has focused mostly on the hospital and acute care setting whereas assessments of patient safety climate in primary health care settings are warranted. Valid questionnaires as e.g., the Safety Attitudes Questionnaire (SAQ) may capture staff perceptions of patient safety climate but until now, an overview of the use of SAQ in primary care has not been systematically presented. Thus, the aim of this systematic review is to present an overview of SAQ used in primary care. Methods The electronic databases: PubMed, Embase, Cinahl, PsycInfo and Web of Science were used to find studies that used any version of SAQ in primary care. Studies were excluded if only abstract or poster was available, as the information in abstract and posters was deemed insufficient. Commentaries and nonempirical studies (e.g., study protocols) were excluded. Only English manuscripts were included. Results A total of 43 studies were included and 40 of them fell into four categories: 1) validation analysis, 2) descriptive analysis, 3) variance assessment and 4) intervention evaluation and were included in further analyses. Some studies fell into more than one of the four categories. Seventeen studies aimed to validate different versions of SAQ in a variety of settings and providers. Twenty-five studies from fourteen different countries reported descriptive findings of different versions of SAQ in a variety of settings. Most studies were conducted in primary health care centres, out-of-hours clinics, nursing homes and general practice focusing on greatly varying populations. One study was conducted in home care. Three studies investigated variance of SAQ scores. Only five studies used SAQ to assess the effects of interventions/events. These studies evaluated the effect of electronic medical record implementation, a comprehensive Unit-based Safety Program or COVID-19. Conclusion The synthesis demonstrated that SAQ is valid for use in primary care, but it is important to adapt and validate the questionnaire to the specific setting and participants under investigation. Moreover, differences in SAQ factor scores were related to a variety of descriptive factors, that should be considered in future studies More studies, especially variance and intervention studies, are warranted in primary care. Trial registration This systematic review was not registered in any register.
Safety attitude questionnaire,Patient safety,Validation,Intervention,Primary care
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