Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (CAHPS®) is a program managed by the U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ). CAHPS® surveys are used by the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA), a non-profit organization dedicated to improving health care quality. A random selection of NextLevel Health Members are surveyed each year by an independent organization using the CAHPS® Adult and Child Medicaid Health Plan surveys. These surveys measure how happy Members are with their health plan and the care received from doctors. The identity of the Member is never made known to the health plan.
What Is Patient Experience?
Patient experience encompasses the range of interactions that patients have with the healthcare system, including their care from health plans, and from doctors, nurses, and staff in hospitals, physician practices, and other healthcare facilities. The terms patient satisfaction and patient experience are often used interchangeably, but they are not the same thing.
What Does the CAHPS Program Do?
Under the CAHPS® program, AHRQ oversees and works closely with a consortium of research organizations to conduct research on patient experience and develop surveys that ask consumers and patients to report on and evaluate their experiences with health plans, providers, and healthcare facilities. The CAHPS® program also investigates and shares strategies for improving the reliability and validity of survey results, reporting survey results to interested audiences, and using the results to improve patients’ experiences with care.
The CAHPS® surveys cover topics that are important to consumers and focus on aspects of quality that consumers are best qualified to assess, such as the communication skills of providers and ease of access to healthcare services. All CAHPS® surveys and related documentation are free to anyone who wants to use these surveys to assess patients’ experiences with care.
Users of CAHPS® survey results include patients and consumers, healthcare professionals, public and private purchasers of healthcare, healthcare accreditation organizations, health plans, and regional improvement collaboratives. These individuals and organizations use the survey results to evaluate and compare healthcare providers and to improve patient experience with healthcare services.