A Closer Look at CG CAHPS to Drive Improvement

September 7, 2016 Cpayne

Healthcare staff reviewing OAS CAHPS results

SPH Analytics recently hosted two webinars in our CG CAHPS webinar series. The overall theme focused on using CG CAHPS to drive improvement.

In this blog, we take a closer look at CG CAHPS and some of the topics covered in our recent webinar including:

  • Updates to the CG CAHPS Survey
  • Best Practices for planning and conducting CG CAHPS
  • A live demo using advanced analytics and online reporting

Updates to the CG CAHPS Survey

The CAHPS Consortium, which is overseen by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) made updates to the CAHPS Clinician and Group (CG CAHPS) Survey in July 2015 to reflect changes in the healthcare landscape and to include some additional aspects of healthcare that are important to patients.

Some of these key updates included:

Six-month rather than a 12-month reference period

A 6-month, instead of 12-month, reference period for CG CAHPS makes the survey consistent with the implementation of the CG CAHPS Survey by multiple stakeholders, including the CAHPS for ACOs Survey and the CAHPS for Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS) Survey.

Modified composite measure for “Access”

The revised three-item composite measure reflects multiple aspects of access that are important to patients and stakeholders.

Modified composite measure for “Communication”

The revised four-item composite measure is consistent with the communication measure in the CAHPS Health Plan Survey.

New composite measure for “Care Coordination”

The new three-item composite measure is comprised of two existing core items and one new item based on an existing CG CAHPS supplemental item.

Reduced survey length

The length of the core adult CG CAHPS Survey has been reduced from 34 items to 31 items.

Modified and reduced Patient-Centered Medical Home (PCMH) Item Set

Modifications to CG CAHPS Survey include changes to the PCMH Item Set, which has also been updated to a 3.0 version.

CG CAHPS Survey Administration Considerations

SPH Analytics (SPHA) has extensive experience and expertise administering CG CAHPS and the CAHPS Family of Surveys. With years of providing personal consultation and guidance to our clients, we understand the challenges of conducting this survey and can be a valuable resource for implementing best practices.

Some of the questions we help our clients think through in preparation for an effective CG CAHPS Survey administration include:

  1. Does your organization currently have a pay-for-performance program in place? If so, how is performance measured?
  2. What is your objective in conducting the survey?
  3. How will you use or apply survey results?
  4. Do you want to measure performance at the physician/provider level, site or group level?
  5. Beyond the core survey measures, are there other areas or topics you wish to measure?
  6. How large is your provider network?
  7. Will you survey patients for all providers or a sample of high-volume PCPs?
  8. Do you need to survey both adult and child patients?
  9. How frequently do you want to conduct the survey? Annually?  Quarterly?  More frequently?
  10. Do you wish to submit data to the AHRQ CAHPS National Database which also allows you to incorporate select benchmark data into your results analysis?

Clearly, there are several factors to consider when conducting the CG CAHPS Survey. However, SPHA provides expertise and guidance throughout the survey administration.

Using Interactive Analytics to Drive Improvement

During our most recent CG CAHPS webinar, SPHA gave healthcare providers a close-up view of our enhanced analytics with a live demo demonstrating the interactive power of our online reporting.

By combining patient experience survey results and SPHA’s analytics, we have developed a CG CAHPS resource that gives providers the ability to evaluate survey responses and analyze the data in a variety of ways. Our powerful analytics enable clients to take targeted action to improve performance and patient perceptions.

Meaningful Insights for Targeted Action

CG CAHPS survey results provide meaningful insight to clinician and provider groups in understanding their patients’ experience, as well as to health plans to evaluate providers in their network. SPHA’s advanced analytics and online reporting highlight data from an enterprise level down to a granular level. From a high level, the following types of information can be assessed:

  • Health plans can see which providers are meeting performance goals
  • Clinician groups and ACOs can measure individual clinician performance
  • Providers can understand how they compare to benchmarks

By looking at this information at a deeper level, performance improvement or recognition can be implemented. Examples include:

  • Health plans incentivizing provider domain or question-level performance improvement
  • ACOs monitoring clinic performance to determine reimbursement
  • Clinics evaluating which providers have earned performance recognition
  • Providers establishing a process for ensuring performance standards are met

For key issues, users of SPHA’s CG CAHPS analytics can set alerts to ensure action is taken. The alerts can range from “patient reports never” on important questions to communication is “always” clear and understandable. With these trigger actions set, alerts are given to the identified person who can take action to recognize desired performance or work to gain an understanding of situations that may be contributing to lackluster performance.

Driving Continual Improvement

While the CG CAHPS Survey is not mandated, early adopters of the survey are gaining a better understanding of their patient experience. By incorporating analytics, what we know best, SPHA is able to help healthcare leaders gain a deeper understanding of their patient experience and target areas for improvement. As patient experience and value-based purchasing outcomes continue to align, CG CAHPS analytics are critical to faster adoption of changing requirements and time to reimbursement.

In our next CG CAHPS Webinar we’ll be taking a deep dive into best practices for driving continual improvement. We’ll give healthcare providers valuable information to begin implementing improvement initiatives within their organization to improve performance, enhance the patient experience, and prepare for anticipated mandates.

Additional Resources:

 

CAHPS® is a registered trademark of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.

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