Can Additional Patient Experience Items Improve the Reliability of and Add New Domains to the CAHPS Hospital Survey?

Published In: HSR, Health Services Research, v. 43, no. 6, Dec. 2008, p. 2201-2222

Posted on RAND.org on January 01, 2008

by Arlyss Anderson Rothman, Hayoung Park, Ron D. Hays, C. A. Edwards, R. Adams Dudley

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CONTEXT: The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services will introduce the reporting of patient surveys in 2008. The Consumer Assessment of Health Care Providers and Systems (CAHPS) Hospital Survey contains 18 questions about hospital care. Internal consistency reliability of the discharge information scale is relatively low and some important domains of care are not represented. OBJECTIVE: To determine whether adding questions increases the reliability and validity of the survey. DATA SOURCES AND STUDY SETTING: Surveys of patients at 181 hospitals participating in the California Hospitals Assessment and Reporting Taskforce (CHART), an initiative for voluntary public reporting of hospital performance in California. STUDY DESIGN: CHART added nine questions to the CAHPS Hospital Survey; two to improve reliability of the discharge information domain, five to create a coordination of care domain, and two relating to interpreter services. DATA COLLECTION: Surveys were sent to randomly selected patients from each CHART hospital. PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: A total of 40,172 surveys were included. Adding the new discharge information questions improved the internal consistency reliability from 0.45 to 0.72 and the hospital-level reliability from 0.75 to 0.81. New coordination of care composites had good internal consistency reliabilities ranging from 0.58 to 0.70 and hospital-level reliabilities ranging from 0.84 to 0.87. The new coordination of care composites were more closely correlated with overall hospital ratings and willingness to recommend than six of the seven original domains. CONCLUSIONS: The additional discharge information questions and the new coordination of care questions significantly improved the psychometric properties of the CAHPS Hospital Survey.

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