Skip to Main Content

Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems

Regional Facilities:

Avera Marshall Regional Health Center

Avera McKennan Hospital & University Health Center

Avera Queen of Peace

Avera Sacred Heart

Avera St. Luke's

 

Background

The intent of the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS pronounced H-Caps) initiative is to provide a standardized survey instrument and data collection methodology for measuring patients' perspectives on hospital care. While many hospitals currently collect information on patients' satisfaction with care, there is no national standard for collecting or publicly reporting this information that would enable valid comparisons to be made across all hospitals. In order to make "apples to apples" comparisons to support consumer choice, it is necessary to introduce a standard measurement approach. HCAHPS can be viewed as a core set of questions that can be combined with a broader, customized set of hospital-specific items. HCAHPS is meant to complement the data hospitals currently collect to support improvements in internal customer services and quality related activities.

Three broad goals have shaped the HCAHPS survey. First, the survey is designed to produce comparable data on the patient's perspective on care that allows objective and meaningful comparisons between hospitals on domains that are important to consumers. Second, public reporting of the survey results is designed to create incentives for hospitals to improve their quality of care. Third, public reporting will serve to enhance public accountability in health care by increasing the transparency of the quality of hospital care provided in return for the public investment. With these goals in mind, the HCAHPS project has taken substantial steps to assure that the survey will be credible, useful, and practical. This methodology and the information it generates will be made available to the public.

In May 2005, the National Quality Forum (NQF), an organization established to standardize health care quality measurement and reporting, formally endorsed the CAHPS Hospital Survey. The NQF endorsement represents the consensus of many health care providers, consumer groups, professional associations, purchasers, federal agencies, and research and quality organizations.

 

About the Survey

The CAHPS Hospital Survey can be seen as a core set of questions that may be combined with a broader, customized set of hospital-specific items. The survey is meant to complement to the extent possible, not replace, the data hospitals currently collect to support improvements in internal customer services and quality related activities.

The CAHPS Hospital Survey is composed of 18 patient rating and patient perspectives on care items that encompass seven key topics: communication with doctors, communication with nurses, responsiveness of hospital staff, cleanliness and quietness of hospital environment, pain management, communication about medicines, and discharge information. It also includes four screener questions and five demographic items, some of which may be used for adjusting the mix of patients across hospitals and for analytical purposes. The survey is 27 questions in length.

There are four approved modes of administration for the CAHPS Hospital Survey: 1) Mail Only; 2) Telephone Only; 3) Mixed (mail followed by telephone); and 4) Active Interactive Voice Response (IVR).