Low response rates and inaccurate responses undermine CAHPS scores and reimbursement.
The paper-based CAHPS (Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems) survey is being increasingly used in US healthcare as formal reporting of patient experience metrics to improve quality care and by extension driving reimbursement. However, studies using these paper-based CAHPS surveys have found response rates ranging as low as 34% to 61% – lower for female, nonwhite, younger, and limited English-proficient patients, providing evidence that certain patient subgroups are less likely to respond to traditional CAHPS surveys (1,2,3,4). In particular, patient populations already struggling with literacy, numeracy, and/or English proficiency encounter greater hardship when answering existing CAHPS questionnaires (5). Furthermore, researchers at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) found that the lower response rates from specific patient populations also resulted in data not representative of the diverse patient populations in healthcare settings and underscored the need for exploring new ways to engage all patients in reporting on their care.
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