Reporting CAHPS Survey Results to Non-Consumers

Many sponsors of CAHPS surveys produce reports for audiences other than consumers. These audiences include internal decisionmakers, accrediting bodies (e.g., NCQA), policymakers (e.g., regulators or legislators), health plans, and provider organizations.

What's Different About These Reports?

Reports developed for different audiences and purposes may look very different from consumer-oriented reports in terms of their appearance (e.g., no photos) and content (e.g., more data and more technical, analytic explanatory material). Such reports typically include detailed survey results and different explanatory text around the results (geared either to the technical aspects of the results and your analysis or toward the purchasing, quality improvement, or policy-related aspects).

Issues to Anticipate

If you choose to develop reports that contain a high level of detail, take the time to work with your non-consumer audiences to reach agreement on such issues as:

  • Data ownership and privacy
  • Timing
  • Method of distribution
  • Content (e.g., do all organizations get the same level of detail? Are there any restrictions on how they can use it?)

You will also need to address the following issues:

Consistency. Any results presented in both the consumer report and any other report must be consistent. Because of the greater amount of data presented and the degree of detail in the accompanying information, some results may appear to be different from those in the consumer report. Make sure that your detailed report explains and provides the context for any discrepancies. If you plan to provide reports to individual plans or providers with detailed data for their own organization only, provide benchmarks as well so that the organization has a reasonable basis on which to judge its performance.

Sequencing. If you plan on producing multiple reports, map out who will get which reports and when. For example, consider whether participating health plans or providers should receive reports before your consumer audience does.

Analytic decisions. You may have already made some analytic decisions during your design phase, such as whether to analyze data on frequent and infrequent users of health care together or separately, or whether to analyze data for adults and children separately. In light of the information needs of your non-consumer audiences and any preliminary data results, you may want to revise or refine your initial analytic decisions. For example, you may find that after some early analysis, there is no difference in the results for subgroups such as adults and children. In this case, you may decide not to present separate tables for these subgroups.

Page last reviewed March 2016
Page originally created October 2011
Internet Citation: Reporting CAHPS Survey Results to Non-Consumers. Content last reviewed March 2016. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD. http://www.ahrq.gov/cahps/consumer-reporting/guidelines/results/index.html