Every organisation has a unique culture. There is a widely held view that a positive organisational culture is related to positive patient outcomes. Following the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Review and Meta-Analyses statement, we systematically reviewed and synthesised the evidence on the extent to which organisational and workplace cultures are associated with patient outcomes.
A variety of healthcare facilities, including hospitals, general practices, pharmacies, military hospitals, aged care facilities, mental health and other healthcare contexts.
The articles included were heterogeneous in terms of participants. This was expected as we allowed scope for wide-ranging health contexts to be included in the review.
Patient outcomes, inclusive of specific outcomes such as pain level, as well as broader outcomes such as patient experience.
The search strategy identified 2049 relevant articles. A review of abstracts using the inclusion criteria yielded 204 articles eligible for full-text review. Sixty-two articles were included in the final analysis. We assessed studies for risk of bias and quality of evidence. The majority of studies (84%) were from North America or Europe, and conducted in hospital settings (89%). They were largely quantitative (94%) and cross-sectional (81%). The review identified four interventional studies, and no randomised controlled trials, but many good quality social science studies. We found that overall, positive organisational and workplace cultures were consistently associated with a wide range of patient outcomes such as reduced mortality rates, falls, hospital acquired infections and increased patient satisfaction.
Synthesised, although there was no level 1 evidence, our review found a consistently positive association held between culture and outcomes across multiple studies, settings and countries. This supports the argument in favour of activities that promote positive cultures in order to enhance outcomes in healthcare organisations.