Consumer Assessment of Health Providers and Systems Surveys and Analysis with Tribes

The CAHPS survey was developed by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) as a standardized method for assessing patient experiences and rating of health care providers and health care systems. There are several versions of CAHPS surveys, including clinicians/medical groups, hospitals, dialysis centers, home health care, and others. CAHPS survey results offer a number of advantages to users:

  • The CAHPS survey is in the public domain and may be used by anyone.
  • Users can augment the core CAHPS survey questions with additional questions covering topics of specific interest and importance to individual users.
  • The core CAHPS survey questions are standardized and can be compared to survey results from other health care providers and systems that are available on the CAHPS Benchmarking Database.
  • The CAHPS survey is used by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to assess patient experiences with Medicare Advantage plans and with Medicare fee-for-service providers.
  • The National Quality Forum has endorsed the use of the Clinician-Groups CAHPS survey for assessing patient experiences.

An IHS/Tribal version of CAHPS has been developed by Sundance Research Institute, with input from Tribal Health Directors and Indian Health Service representatives, and implemented at several Indian Health Service ambulatory facilities for performance monitoring and identifying opportunities for quality improvement.

  • At two IHS facilities, the American Indian (AI) CAHPS was conducted before and two years after these facilities began participating in the IHS Improving Patient Care (IPC) initiative. At both facilities, statistically significant improvement in patient ratings of their experience with IHS were documented two years after IPC began.
  • The CAHPS survey has also been used by one IHS facility to identify opportunities for quality improvement. Regression analysis methods were used to identify the specific dimensions of the care process that had significant association with the Overall Rating of IHS by patients. Quality improvement initiatives were then developed to target one of the significant factors, resulting in significant improvement in patients’ ratings of IHS.

Sundance Research Institute currently has a contract with the Great Plains Tribal Chairmen’s Health Board to conduct and analyze the CAHPS survey with three Tribes and IHS facilities in South Dakota.