This post was written by our Guest Blogger Megan O’Donnell who manages the RMS Healthcare Division at RMS.

When CMS began the national implementation of Hospital CAHPS® surveying in 2006, they recommended using the assumption that 40% of the patients administered the HCAHPS® survey would ultimately complete the survey. This allowed hospitals and HCAHPS® survey vendors to determine how many patients to survey each month to reach the target of 300 completed surveys in a 12-month period. As an approved HCAHPS® survey vendor, Research & Marketing Strategies (RMS) uses that 40% assumption for new clients in order to meet the targeted response rate established by CMS.

For HCAHPS®, hospitals have the option of survey administration in one of four modes: Mail Only, Telephone Only, Mixed (Mail and Telephone) and a rarely used IVR (Interactive Voice Response) mode. RMS Healthcare (a division of RMS) continually monitors its response rates for its HCAHPS® clients across the various modes of survey administration and attains better than the expected results offered by CMS. While the Mail Only mode of HCAHPS® survey administration is experiencing response rates in the neighborhood of 40% (38% in 2009, 42% for the first half of 2010), RMS Healthcare has seen nearly 50% response rates for both the Telephone Only mode and the Mixed mode. That’s nearly 25% higher than Mail Only.

How does RMS compare to the Competition?

What these higher response rates mean for our clients is greater flexibility. Clients have the option to either survey fewer patients in order to meet the CMS target (300 a year), or obtain responses from more patients and achieve even greater statistical reliability in the results. Furthermore, for smaller hospitals that may not have enough of an eligible population to come close to returning 300 completed surveys a year, using the Telephone Only or Mixed modes can help them to maximize their returns. With four years of survey response rates available, RMS Healthcare provides current and potential clients with information to help them choose the HCAHPS® survey administration mode that fits their patient population, their marketing needs, and oftentimes, most importantly, their budget. 

By continually monitoring these rates, RMS Healthcare works with clients on a daily basis to customize the number of patients surveyed each month to minimize budgetary expenses. As is always the case, budgets do play a role in the survey methodology that can be employed for a client. RMS Healthcare offers its clients the option of choosing any of the three most common modes.  However, in the world of survey administration, a mail survey is always less expensive than a telephone survey because of the labor costs associated with administering the survey over the telephone. A telephone survey typically receives a better response rate than a mail survey because a live person is harder to ignore than a piece of paper. Despite the costs, many clients (be it a hospital or any company reaching out to its patients or customers) like the personal touch that the telephone survey offers the respondent. Many hospitals feel as though using the Telephone Only or Mixed modes are worth the extra cost because the personal approach of reaching out to their patients appeals to them. Yes, even HCAHPS® survey administration in itself is a marketing tool! Our experienced telesurveyors work as an extension to your hospital team. 

RMS Healthcare is proud of the results we have seen in all modes of the HCAHPS® survey administration. We continually outperform New York State and National averages in regards to HCAHPS® return rates. What is the RMS Healthcare difference? You work with a team who caters to your needs. Our team offers a lot of flexibility in both how you send us your patient data and also in which format you would like the report delivered back to you. Also, we have an experienced team of trained HCAHPS® telesurveyors. Our telesurveyors reach out to patients on your behalf and guide them through the survey process in a professional manner, while providing enough consideration for the health issues the patient may still be experiencing. Simply put, using RMS for your patient satisfaction work sets you up for success.

What is your state’s HCAHPS® survey response rate? Click Here.

Interested in exploring higher response rates with RMS Healthcare? Call Sandy Baker at 315-635-9802 or e-mail her at