71% of hospitals did not improve clinical work environments over a decade, study finds

Between 2005 and 2016, 71 percent of hospitals made no significant improvements in their clinical work environments, a study published in Health Affairs found.

The researchers surveyed nurses and patients at 535 hospitals in the U.S. at two points between 2005 and 2016 to assess improvements in clinical work environments.

Here are five other study findings:

1. The researchers found only 21 percent of hospitals showed sizable improvements in clinical environments between 2005 and 2016 and 7 percent of hospitals had work environments that worsened.

2. More than 80 percent of nurses said the clinical work environment in their hospital is less than excellent.

3. About 30 percent of nurses gave their hospital an unfavorable grade on infection prevention.

4. Hospitals that significantly improved their care environments saw greater patient safety improvements than hospitals that did not improve clinical care environments as recommended by the National Academy of Medicine.

5. Hospitals with work environments that worsened had a 25 percent decrease in the percentage of nurses who said management ranks patient safety as a top priority.

"Our findings show that clinicians continue to face challenging but modifiable work environments that interfere with their ability to implement safety interventions consistently," said lead study author Linda Aiken, PhD, RN. "Improving work environments through organization and culture change is a comparatively low-cost intervention to improve quality of care and patient safety."

More articles on clinical leadership and infection control:
CMS' Nursing Home Compare ratings may not reflect patient safety
Physicians dismissing patients' knowledge linked to diagnostic errors, study finds
How EHR contributed to a 36 percent medication error rate

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