CAHPS Best Practices & Tools for Success

In this article, we'll show you the best practices for running CAHPS compliant surveys

Run surveys. Get insights.
Free plan, no time limit
Set up in minutes
No credit card required
Free trial

CAHPS Best Practices & Tools for Success

In this article, we'll show you the best practices for running CAHPS compliant surveys

CAHPS surveys are essential in healthcare. Providers use these patient experience surveys to measure the quality of care at critical points of engagement. With a strong survey process, providers can effectively collect and act on patient feedback.

This article will cover CAHPS survey basics and best practices for successful administration.

CAHPS Surveys: The Basics

The Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers & Systems (CAHPS) survey is a way to monitor the quality of healthcare patients receive, hold providers accountable, and provide transparency for consumers seeking care.

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) oversees the program, which leverages a standardized set of questions, mature security measures, and transparency to empower consumers making healthcare decisions.

What is the CAHPS survey used for?

The CAHPS survey measures the quality of care delivered by a healthcare provider. Depending on the care scenario, the patient or their family may complete the survey. For example, when working with an elderly patient, it’s likely the family will complete the CAHPS survey.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) reports survey results publicly, and may affect payments to CMS providers. CAHPS surveys ensure CMS providers are held to a certain standard of care, and that consumers may make an informed decision when selecting a provider.

Who should conduct CAHPS surveys?

CAHPS surveys may be performed by various healthcare organizations, falling under four key categories:

  1. Patient Experience with Providers (Clinician & Group, Hospice, Home Health Care, Surgical Care, American Indian)
  2. Patient Experience with Condition-Specific Care (Cancer Care, Mental Health Care)
  3. Enrollee Experience with Health Plans and Related Programs (Health Plan, Dental Plan, Home and Community-Based Services)
  4. Patient Experience with Facility-Based Care (Emergency Department, Hospital, In-Center Hemodialysis, Nursing Home, Outpatient and Ambulatory Surgery)

Not all healthcare providers must run CAHPS surveys. However, CAHPS survey administration is required for participation in some federal healthcare reimbursement programs. Additionally, many patients prefer providers with public reviews they can trust.

What questions are on the CAHPS survey?

CAHPS survey questions are standardized, but differ based on provider type. Survey questions can be found on the CMS or AHRQ websites, depending on the organization type you’re looking for.

Surveys typically come with administration manuals and supplemental materials designed to help your organization conduct them successfully.

Running a Successful CAHPS Survey

There are a few key components to successfully administering a CAHPS survey. As you’ll be collecting sensitive patient information, it’s vital that you consider your data privacy and security protocols.

Additionally, you should ensure you have the correct processes in place to ensure an optimal survey timeline.

What are the data privacy requirements of the CAHPS survey?

Since you’re collecting protected healthcare information, you must comply with HIPAA regulations regarding data privacy. As a result, you must leverage a survey platform with strong data privacy capabilities and train your team on properly handling this type of data.

What’s the target CAHPS survey response rate?

You should aim for a response rate of between 40-50%, according to AHRQ. You can improve your response rate by letting patients know they will receive a survey, sending reminders to complete the survey, and making it clear that you act on any feedback provided.

What’s the timeframe of a successful CAHPS survey?

The faster you can collect patient feedback, the more accurate it will be. If you wait too long after an appointment to administer the survey, patients are less likely to remember specific details of their visit.

If you discover an issue, it’s essential to follow up quickly and accurately to maintain a positive patient relationship. The longer you wait to follow up, the more likely a patient is to feel their concerns are being ignored or, worse, to find a new provider.

Improve CAHPS Surveys

By improving your CAHPS administration strategy, you can ensure your results are accurate, enabling you to improve your practice. Leverage a strong survey platform to help you administer and manage questionnaires.

Which survey platforms are ideal for running CAHPS surveys?

Checkbox’s secure survey platform is optimal for administering CAHPS surveys. With a HIPAA-compliant platform, you can administer surveys confidently, knowing your patient data is secure.

Checkbox also makes it easy to monitor and act on your results.

Which mistakes should be avoided when conducting CAHPS surveys?

Don’t wait too long to send out the survey or communicate results. By waiting to share the survey, patients will forget key details. Meanwhile, delaying communicating results reduces the efficacy of the feedback, as care providers will also have forgotten important information.

Don’t limit your sample size. Without enough feedback, you won’t have accurate insights into patient care experiences.

Run Effective CAHPS Surveys with Checkbox

CAHPS surveys are essential for healthcare providers looking to assess care quality and participate in federal healthcare reimbursement programs. Since you’re collecting protected patient data, ensure your survey processes comply with HIPAA.

Checkbox’s secure survey software is perfect for developing and executing CAHPS surveys. Try Checkbox for free now and join over 2,500 companies globally that use Checkbox to create secure surveys.

Or contact us directly, if you want On-prem or White-label version of Checkbox.

Get better insights from your next survey!

Checkbox develops affordable, feature-rich survey software for organizations, teams, and individuals