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Hospital CAHPS (HCAHPS)

Overview: HCAHPS is the first national, standardized, publicly-reported survey of patients' perspectives of hospital care.  The HCAHPS Survey (pronounced “H-caps”) is a 32-item instrument and data collection methodology for measuring patients’ perceptions of their hospital experience.  HCAHPS allows valid comparisons to be made across hospitals -- locally, regionally and nationally.  The survey was nationally implemented in 2006 and public reporting of hospital scores began in 2008.  Since 2012, HCAHPS scores have played a role in hospital payment through the Hospital Value-Based Purchasing program.  

About the survey: The HCAHPS Survey captures the patient’s experience of communication with doctors and nurses, responsiveness of hospital staff, pain management, communication about medicines, cleanliness and quietness of the hospital, discharge information, transition to post-hospital care and overall rating of the hospital.  The survey is administered between 2 and 42 days after discharge to a random sample of adult patients.  There are four approved modes of administration: Mail, Telephone, Mixed (mail with telephone follow-up), and Interactive Voice Response.  The survey is available in official Spanish, Chinese, Russian, Vietnamese and Portuguese translations.  About 4,000 hospitals participate in HCAHPS and over 3.0 million patients complete the survey each year.

Public reporting and policy relevance: Publicly-reported HCAHPS results are based on four consecutive quarters of patient surveys.  CMS publishes updated HCAHPS results four times a year on its Hospital Compare website (http://www.medicare.gov/hospitalcompare/search.aspx).  HCAHPS is also employed in the Hospital Value Based Purchasing (VBP) Program. For more information about the Hospital VBP program, please visit the CMS Web site, http://www.cms.gov/Hospital-Value-Based-Purchasing/.  Summaries and analyses of HCAHPS scores can be found on the official HCAHPS On-Line Web site, www.hcahpsonline.org.  Content includes current and historical state and national results, “top-box” (most positive survey response) and “bottom-box” (most negative survey response) percentiles for each measure, inter-correlations of the measures, and comparisons of HCAHPS results by hospital characteristics.  HCAHPS On-Line also provides news and alerts, training materials, survey instruments and the survey implementation protocols.  

For more information, please visit the HCAHPS website: http://www.hcahpsonline.org/.  You may also contact CMS at HOSPITALCAHPS@cms.hhs.gov or the HCAHPS project team at hcahps@HCQIS.org