Patient experience with health care is an important dimension of quality. In addition, there is evidence that positive patient experiences with care are associated with better outcomes. RAND conducted pioneering work in measuring patient experience. The Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (CAHPS®) study is a long-term, innovative effort to develop tools for surveying people about their health care experiences and reporting results to help consumers make better health-related decisions. Initially designed to assess health plan performance from the consumer perspective in multiple health care settings (commercial, Medicaid, Medicare), CAHPS® broadened its scope to include surveys and reporting recommendations for assessing individual physicians, physician groups, and hospitals. CAHPS® now comprises a family of surveys focused on ambulatory care and facilities such as hospitals and hospices.
This work has been used by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid (CMS), numerous private health plans, and other organizations to support quality improvement.