Research on Reporting Information to Consumers

The ability to report CAHPS® survey results in a way that supports consumers in making informed decisions has been a key element of the CAHPS project since its inception in the mid-1990s.1 Over the years, the CAHPS grantees have conducted numerous studies to answer key questions:

  • What are the best ways to report CAHPS survey results so that they are understandable and usable?
  • How do the users of CAHPS surveys actually report the results?
  • What effect does the reporting of CAHPS survey results have on consumers and their choices?

More recently, CAHPS researchers associated with the Yale and RAND grantee teams have been focused on the following projects.

Reporting Patient Narratives

There is increasing interest in incorporating patient narratives into consumer reports that also contain standardized measures of health care quality—including but not limited to CAHPS survey measures. The CAHPS team used a fictitious public reporting site called SelectMD to explore ways to use narratives to enhance consumers' understanding of standardized measures of quality, engage consumers in health care decision-making, and more effectively convey patient-reported experience.

Learn more about this project:

Review findings from this project:

The Use of Summary Scores in Consumer Reports

One of the challenges facing the developers of consumer reports on health care quality is the complexity of the information, particularly when consumers have to consider multiple pieces of information to make a decision. Summary scores, which combine the scores for multiple measures of health care quality, are regarded as a promising solution to that challenge. However, summary scores have both positive and negative features, and the impact of summary scores on consumer decision-making has not been not well understood.

The CAHPS team explored these issues through two research projects:

Learn more about this topic:

1Read about the critical role of reporting research in: McGee J, Kanouse DE, Sofaer S, et al. Making survey results easy to report to consumers: How reporting needs guided survey design in CAHPS. Med Care 1999;37(3 suppl):MS32–40.

Page last reviewed January 2019
Page originally created September 2015
Internet Citation: Research on Reporting Information to Consumers. Content last reviewed January 2019. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD.
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