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Improving Patient Satisfaction with the Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (CAHPS)

What is CAHPS?

The Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (CAHPS®) survey is a patient satisfaction survey that affects CMS Star ratings. The survey asks patients about their experience with and ratings of their health plan and network providers. It is generally administered from March through June each year, and completed by the Medicare patient or his/her designated representative. All survey responses are confidential.  Plans do not receive patient-level responses.

Tips for Physicians

  • Ask the patient if he/she has seen another provider. If you know the patient received specialty care, mention this and discuss, as needed, including what other prescription drugs he/she may be taking.
  • Share pertinent clinical information with your patient's other providers, utilize direct messaging through a HIPAA compliant health information exchange, such as HEALTHeLINK.
  • Offer to assist scheduling tests and referral appointments.
  • Tell your patient when to expect test results and who will provide the results.
  • Improve patient satisfaction with communication. Make sure your patient knows that you have all the important information about his/her medical history.
  • Educate your staff about these questions in order to improve patient interactions.
  • Be sure to include patient caregivers in these conversations. 

Tips for Office Staff

  • Leave some open appointment slots each day for urgent and post-inpatient visits, this will help support continuity of care and help you stay on schedule.
  • Shorten perceived wait time by assigning staff to perform preliminary work-up activities (such as blood pressure, temperature).
  • Provide brief and frequent updates for any provider delays, and offer options to reschedule or be seen by another provider.
  • Encourage patients to make their routine appointments for checkups or follow-up visits in advance.
  • Be proactive and call patients months in advance to schedule tests, screenings, or physicals. Don’t wait for the patient to call.

Download a flyer, which includes the above information that you can hand out to your staff. Additional information on the CAHPS® survey is available on www.ahrq.gov