Making survey results easy to report to consumers : how reporting needs guided survey design in CAHPS

by Jeanne McGee, David E. Kanouse, Soshanna Sofaer, J. Lee Hargraves, Elizabeth Hoy, Susan Kleimann

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The goal of the CAHPS (Consumer Assessment of Health Plans) team was to design a series of reporting products that present survey results so that consumers find understandable and meaningful information in choosing health plans. Reporting was based on previous research on consumers' information interests and needs in choosing among plans. Cognitive tests were conducted with consumers to get their reactions to mock-ups of approaches to reporting CAHPS survey results. Findings from previous research and cognitive testing, and feedback from experts and the public, were used to modify survey questions, response options, and reporting formats to make it easier for consumers to understand and use reports. The study concluded that the CAHPS focus on reporting results to consumers presented an unusual challenge for survey design, requiring close coordination between instrument design and report development to produce a survey and reporting kit that serves consumers' information needs.

Originally published in: Medical Care, v. 37 no. 3, supplement, 1999, pp. MS32-MS40, MS106-MS115.

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