This post was written by guest contributors Michele Treinin and Marc Bovenzi. 

Measuring patient experiences and patient loyalty is becoming increasingly important in the healthcare arena as patients are becoming more concerned and aware of the care they receive. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) have developed a “Physician Compare” website to share results from the returned surveys that will allow prospective patients to make more informed decisions when choosing a provider.

questions to ask when choosing CG

There are three versions of CG-CAHPS® surveys.

  • CG-CAHPS® (6 month or 12 month core survey)
  • Expanded 12-Month Survey with Patient-Centered Medical Home Items
  • Visit Survey

Below are some questions to consider when deciding which survey is right for your organization.

How does your organization plan to utilize the survey results?

  • Meet minimum reporting requirements?
  • Review data to create an implementation plan that will improve the patient experience?
  • Measure compliance and determine accountability?
  • A combination of the above?

What survey instrument should you use?

The CG-CAHPS® survey serves as the core survey, and according to NCQA Patient-Centered Medical Home (PCMH) 2014 Standards, if a practice uses the Expanded 12-Month Survey with Patient-Centered Medical Home Items (PCMH version of the tool), they will receive an additional point towards recognition.

The Visit Survey asks specifically about patient experiences with providers and staff at their most recent visit to the doctor’s office.

What about the sample?

There are three main things to consider when thinking about your sample patients.

  1. Should my organization survey all patients, or just Medicare and Medicaid patients?
  2. Should I only sample a particular number of patients per month?
  3. Should I include pediatric patients?
  4. Should I sample by location? Provider?

What method should you use?

RMS offers survey method options which are both convenient and effective for your organization and the patient being surveyed.

RMS offers:

  • Mail only mode
  • Telephone only mode
  • Email only mode
  • Mixed mode (a combination using up to all 3 methods)

When your organization is considering which modes are best, remember that a mixed mode typically results in the highest number of completed surveys and a higher response rate. If you are interested in an email survey, it will be important to evaluate how many viable email addresses are available in your database. Email often does not provide enough data for most organizations as a stand-alone method.

What report options do you need?

Your organization can analyze data from different levels to pinpoint areas of improvement. You should choose the levels that are most relevant to your situation (i.e. specialty, practice, or provider levels). RMS offers a variety of reporting options to accommodate any practice size and can provide a breakdown of data to satisfy any needs you may have.

RMS Healthcare is an approved vendor for the CG-CAHPS® surveying process. If you are interested in learning more about our survey services, please contact the Senior Director of Business Development & Corporate Strategy, Sandy Baker at or by calling 1-866-567-5422.