If you are looking for the average response rate for HCAHPS®, it stands at 33 percent based on nationwide statistics for discharges from April 2011 through March 2012. The acronym HCAHPS® stands for Hospital Consumer Assessment of Health Plans Survey (or Hospital CAHPS®). So, the national response rate average for HCAHPS® means that only one out of every three discharge patients asked to participate in the HCAHPS® survey actually respond to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) developed survey. HCAHPS® response rates also vary by state – as low as 25 percent in New Mexico and as high as 42 percent in South Dakota and Wisconsin. The average response rate for HCAHPS® in New York State (where Research & Marketing Strategies (RMS) is located) is 31 percent.

RMS recently ran its analysis of HCAHPS® response rates last week. We are a CMS approved HCAHPS® vendor and the only firm located in New York State on the official HCAHPS® approved vendor listOur HCAHPS® response rate stands at 52 percent, which is 58 percent higher than the national HCAHPS® response rate and 64 percent higher than the New York State HCAHPS® response rate. Despite having a strict protocol for survey administration, our Healthcare team is able to exceed client expectations on a routine basis. So, if you are looking to improve the response rate of HCAHPS® at your hospital, RMS far exceeds the national average.

average hcahps response rate

Why are HCAHPS® response rates at Research & Marketing Strategies (RMS) higher than the national average?

  • We don’t treat your hospital patients as bulk. Therefore, instead of printing a standardized bulk mailing indicia on survey envelopes, our healthcare team personally hand stamps each piece of mail that goes to every single patient. We know from all of our past mail survey experience (both inside and outside of the healthcare field), using a real stamp increases the likelihood of a recipient opening a piece of mail.
  • We have call center employees trained and experienced with HCAHPS® over the phone. Because RMS has retained many long-standing HCAHPS® clients over the years, we have been able to train and keep our HCAHPS® interviewer team. This means they are able to gain more familiarity with the instrument, speak confidently and clearly and really excel at HCAHPS® administration over the telephone with patients to the tune of a 60 percent percent HCAHPS® response rate from our telephone attempts.
  • We keep it simple for your patients. Many other HCAHPS® survey vendors employ lots of additional questions beyond the standard HCAHPS® template of questions, which results in a much longer and onerous survey, and as a result, a lower overall response rate. We understand hospitals want to gain as much feedback as possible from patients, but if the survey looks too long or too involved, patients will not respond. On top of that, larger vendors use bar codes and cryptograms on the survey, which may provide the vendor some time savings on the back-end but often confuses and intimidates patients when they first open the survey. Larger vendors confuse what is a benefit to them and what is a benefit to their hospital client and its patients. RMS keeps it simple and straightforward to encourage the highest possible response rate. Since the only data that is available to the public on the Hospital Compare website is the HCAHPS® response data, RMS works to maximize those responses for its clients.
  • We treat all of our hospital clients the same, just as we treat their patients. To us, you won’t just be another number and we will take the time to understand your objectives of the research and work to fulfill those expectations. Whether you are a small community hospital or part of a massive healthcare system in your state, it won’t matter to us. Each of our hospital clients will get the personal attention and guidance they need for their HCAHPS® process.

What are the benefits of a higher HCAHPS® response rate for my hospital?

  • It will provide your hospital cost savings and greater flexibility. We can survey fewer patients overall to obtain the minimum 300 completes per year (as dictated by CMS), or survey a greater number of patients to obtain more responses to provide our clients with more data. By receiving more completes from your patients, we can provide your hospital with more advanced and more statistically reliable information. Even for smaller hospitals that may not meet the minimum requirement of 300 completes, we can still maximize your returns and the reliability of the results.

Are you interested in finding out more about Research & Marketing Strategies (RMS) and how our CMS approved vendor healthcare division can help increase your HCAHPS® response rate? For more information contact our Business Development Director Sandy Baker, at SandyB@RMSresults.com or by calling him at (315) 635-9802. For other RMS blog posts about the CAHPS® process and HCAHPS® process – click here. A special thanks to Megan O’Donnell and her Healthcare team for compiling this response rate data.