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Many organizations began to implement the Consumer Assessment of Health Plans Study (CAHPS) in 1997 to obtain meaningful information from health plan enrollees. This article reports on early findings from evaluations of three demonstration sites' experiences using CAHPS, and discusses plans for future demonstrations and evaluations. Process evaluation included on-site interviews, off-site document review, and focus groups with consumers. There are four early results from the CAHPS demonstrations: the CAHPS survey covers topics important to sponsors, is of reasonable length, and can be administered quickly; report templates are used effectively but sponsors vary in their preferences for summarizing and presenting CAHPS ratings; CAHPS sponsors value standardized products but emphasize the need for further development; and CAHPS surveys may be affordable only for large sponsors. The study concludes that the first round of CAHPS demonstrations highlighted strengths of the integrated surveys, and identified areas for improving products and their implementation.

Originally published in: Medical Care, v. 37 no. 3, supplement, 1999, pp. MS97-MS115.

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