The following post was written by Samadhi Moreno, Healthcare Research Associate at RMS.

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) recently announced a new exciting research project titled: “Using Patient Experience Information in Hospitals: A survey of Hospital Quality Leaders.” The project aims to answer the following questions:

  • How do hospitals collect patient experience data?
  • How do HCAHPS results influence a hospital’s efforts to improve patient experience?
  • What types of QI activities do hospitals implement to impact their HCAHPS scores?
  • Does hospital leadership see the value in HCAHPS scores?

AHRQ interviewed hospital quality leaders, hospital staff, hospital quality consultants, and HCAHPS vendors to determine potential survey topics. Using the results from these interviews, the AHRQ team developed potential questions to include in the survey. These questions were then used in the two additional rounds of cognitive interviews that were conducted with hospital quality leaders for feedback to then develop the survey instrument.

The survey instrument developed by AHRQ collects information about the hospital and the respondent on the following topics (2016):

  • Collection of HCAHPS and supplemental data for assessing patient experience
  • Activities to improve patient experience
  • Reporting of HCAHPS and other patient experience
  • Perspectives on HCAHPS
  • Institutional priority given to patient experience
  • Incentives, accountability, and compensation for patient experience scores

This survey will be administered to 500 hospitals of varying sizes and performance levels that publicly report HCAHPS scores and were part of the American Hospital Annual Survey.

Why is this important?

The results of this survey will provide information regarding the activities hospitals implement to improve HCAHPS scores. This can be useful for hospitals that are lagging in terms of patient experience and CAHPS scores. CAHPS surveys score aspects of care that can be helpful for health care executives to improve patient experience. The HCAHPS survey collects information on the patient experience regarding topics such as: the care from nurses, the patient experience in the hospital and after discharge, the overall hospital rating, and the understanding of his/her health once at home.

Many organizations have implemented products and services to improve the CAHPS scores in their organizations. CMS HCAHPS scores can be compared across hospitals regardless of patient mix; therefore the results of this study can be helpful for hospitals to improve bottom box scores.

The full research summary can be accessed here.

Research & Marketing Strategies (RMS) is a full service marketing and market research and consulting firm located in Baldwinsville, NY. As an approved CAHPS Vendor RMS’ Healthcare Department is composed of two divisions:(1) Healthcare Analytics and Healthcare Practice Transformation. The Healthcare Analytics team is responsible for several aspects of the CAHPS Survey Administrations including the following product lines HCAHPS®, HH-CAHPS®, CG-CAHPS®, and ICH CAHPS® and (2) Practice Transformation which handles the coordination of quality initiatives to assist clients achieving Patient Centered Medical Home (PCMH) recognition. To learn more about our healthcare services, please contact Sandy Baker, Senior Director of Business Development & Corporate Strategy at or by calling 1-866-567-5422. Visit our website at