Psychometric Properties of a Group-Level Consumer Assessment of Health Plans Study (CAHPS) Instrument

Published in: Medical Care, v. 43, no. 1, Jan. 2005, p. 53-60

by Loel S. Solomon, Ron D. Hays, Alan M. Zaslavsky, Lin Ding, Paul Cleary

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BACKGROUND: Many different surveys have been used to evaluate the performance of medical groups, but there is a growing recognition that standardization could be helpful to consumers, purchasers, and others. OBJECTIVES: The authors sought to develop a version of the Consumer Assessment of Health Plans Study (CAHPS(R)) survey for use with medical groups (G-CAHPS) and assess its reliability and validity. RESEARCH DESIGN: The research team reviewed existing instruments and conducted patient focus groups in 4 sites to identify aspects of care that were especially important to patients when evaluating medical groups. The authors tested a draft instrument in 75 cognitive interviews with adults 18 years of age or older in Knoxville, St. Louis, and California and pretests in 4 groups of adults in Boston and Denver. The authors then surveyed random samples of patients from medical groups and practice sites in California, Knoxville, St. Louis, and Denver. They analyzed the psychometric characteristics of the instrument. RESULTS: Data support the reliability and validity of 3 multi-item measures of access, office staff service, and patient clinician communication. Measures related to specialty care and preventive counseling did not differentiate among medical groups. CONCLUSIONS: The G-CAHPS instrument provides an assessment of selected aspects of care that are important to consumers and could be a useful complement to the plan-level CAHPS instrument.

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