CAHPS Clinician & Group Survey
The CAHPS® Clinician & Group Survey (CG-CAHPS) asks patients to report on their experiences with providers and staff in primary care and specialty care settings. Survey results can be used to:
- Determine the need for improvement activities and evaluate the impact of those efforts.
- Equip consumers with information they can use to choose physicians and other healthcare providers, physician practices, or medical groups.
There are three versions of the Clinician & Group Survey:
- New: Clinician & Group Visit Survey 4.0 (beta)—asks about experiences at the most recent visit whether in-person, by phone, or by video.
- New: Clinician & Group Survey 3.1—asks about experiences in the last 6 months; updated to reference in-person, phone, and video visits.
- Clinician & Group Survey 3.0—asks about experiences in the last 6 months.
All versions of this survey cover similar domains of patient experience: accessibility of care, communication with providers, care coordination, and interactions with staff. The core items are applicable across various kinds of medical practices, including primary care and specialty care, and across a variety of patient populations. To customize questionnaires, users can add supplemental items, including a structured series of open-ended questions.
Review a comparison of the items in the three versions of the survey (PDF, 154 KB).
Get the Clinician & Group Visit Survey 4.0 (Beta)
The Clinician & Group Visit Survey 4.0 (beta) asks patients about their experiences with care at their most recent visit with an ambulatory care provider. It is applicable to any type of synchronous visit—that is, any visit in which care is delivered and received at the same time, regardless of whether the interaction occurred in person, by phone, or by video. This survey does not ask about experiences with care delivered through asynchronous methods, such as email or portal messages.
- Review the Adult Visit Survey 4.0 (beta)—English (PDF, 225 KB)
- Download the Clinician & Group Survey 4.0 (ZIP, 540 KB)—Includes the Adult instrument in English and Spanish; Word and PDF.
- Overview of the CAHPS Clinician & Group Visit Survey 4.0 (beta) (PDF, 452 KB).
- Introducing the CAHPS Clinician & Group Visit Survey 4.0 (beta)—Webcast, December 17, 2020
AHRQ supported the development of the Visit Survey (beta) to be responsive to the large-scale adoption of telehealth as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The "beta" designation means that the instrument has not yet been field tested by the CAHPS Consortium or approved as a CAHPS survey.
Get the Clinician & Group Survey 3.0 and 3.1
The 3.0 and 3.1 versions of the CAHPS Clinician & Group Survey ask patients about their experiences with care from an ambulatory care provider over a 6-month period. This reference period allows respondents to consider multiple experiences with care when answering the questions.
Instruments are available for adult (18 and older) and child populations. The Child Survey asks parents or guardians about the healthcare experiences of children 17 and younger. It includes a few additional survey items to capture communication between the provider and child and demographic information about the child and the parent/guardian.
The 3.1 version of the survey updates the 3.0 version to prompt respondents to consider in-person, phone, and video visits when they answer the questions and to report which type(s) of visits they had.
- Review the Adult Survey 3.1—English (PDF, 490 KB)
- Review the Child Survey 3.1—English (PDF, 440 KB)
- Download the Clinician & Group Survey 3.1 (ZIP, 1.64 MB)—Includes the Adult and Child instruments in English and Spanish; Word and PDF.
- Review the Adult Survey 3.0—English (PDF, 225 KB)
- Review the Child Survey 3.0—English (PDF, 243 KB)
- Download the Clinician & Group Survey 3.0 (ZIP, 1.68 MB)—Includes the Adult and Child instruments in English and Spanish; Word and PDF.
Administering the CAHPS Clinician & Group Survey
Guidelines for Using the CAHPS Clinician & Group Survey (PDF, 825 KB) explains how to:
- prepare a survey instrument for your organization,
- draw a sample of potential respondents,
- collect the survey data,
- track responses, and
- use the survey results to report patient experience measures.
This guidance is based on the survey developers' extensive research into best practices in survey design and administration as well as analyses of data collected during field tests. AHRQ does not require the use of a specific methodology for sampling or survey administration.
Users of this survey may also want to consult the following guidance:
Quality Measures From the Clinician & Group Survey 3.0/3.1
The Clinician & Group Survey 3.0/3.1 produces the following measures of patient experience:
- Getting Timely Appointments, Care, and Information.
- How Well Providers Communicate With Patients.
- Providers' Use of Information to Coordinate Patient Care.
- Helpful, Courteous, and Respectful Office Staff.
- Patients' Rating of the Provider.
The final measures for the Visit Survey 4.0 (beta) will depend on the results of consumer testing and statistical analyses conducted with data collected from a field test of this survey. When such testing has been completed, the CAHPS team expects that this survey will generate patient experience measures that are similar to those of the Clinician & Group Survey 3.0/3.1.
Supplemental Items for the Clinician & Group Survey
To customize survey instruments, users of the Clinician & Group Survey may add optional supplemental items that address a variety of topics.
Some supplemental items for this survey are designed to be fielded as a set. They address the following subjects:
- Patient Narratives (Open-ended comments)—Final items released in June 2021.
- Patient-Centered Medical Home (PCMH)
- Health Literacy
- Health Information Technology
FAQs About the Clinician & Group Survey
What is meant by "this provider" in the Clinician & Group Survey?
The Clinician & Group Survey asks about "this provider," defined as the person named in the first survey item. The provider named in the first item may be a doctor, a nurse practitioner, a physician assistant, or another kind of provider.
Is sampling for the Clinician & Group Survey done at the provider, practice site, or group level?
The Clinician & Group Survey can be administered at the provider, practice site, or group level. The level of sampling depends on the planned unit of analysis. If you are interested in data on the performance of a specific practice site, you should sample at the site level. If you want data on the performance of individual clinicians, you should sample at the provider level.
What is the timeframe for the sampling frame for the Clinician & Group Survey?
Sampling for the Clinician & Group Survey 3.0/3.1: The sampling frame for this version of the survey should include all patients who have had at least one visit, whether scheduled or unscheduled, in the last 6 months.
Sampling for the Visit Survey 4.0 (beta): Because the sampling guidance is based on field tests of each CAHPS survey, this type of guidance is not yet available for the Visit Survey 4.0 (beta). Please refer to the guidelines above with the following amendments for the sampling frame:
- Include patients with a visit no longer than 3 months from the anticipated start date of data collection in your sample frame.
- Draw a random sample of all adults (18 years or older) who had one or more visits in the 3-month period. Consider increasing the sample size to ensure that you have enough responses for all visit types to support comparisons.
Can we distribute the Clinician & Group Survey to patients while they are in the office?
In-office administration (sometimes referred to as point-of-service) is not a recommended mode for the Clinician & Group Survey.
Researchers have found that data obtained by handing the survey to a patient during or immediately after an office visit are not comparable to data collected by mail and telephone administration. There is a potential for bias (more positive ratings of care) and lower response rates, possibly because staff can be too busy and are not always able to follow through on randomly selecting every "nth" person for the survey.
Is length of time since the last visit taken into account in analyzing responses to the Clinician & Group Survey 3.0/3.1?
The items in the Clinician & Group Survey 3.0/3.1 use a 6-month reference period. Therefore, patients are including all visits for that period of time.
Recent visits within the collection of visits during the reference period may have more influence on the responses of the patient than those further from the time of the survey. Also, responses tend to be more positive for visits that are closer to the time of the survey than those that are further away. However, with a random sample of patients who had a least one visit during the reference period, the distribution of time between visits and survey administration will likely be comparable across providers.
Using Clinician & Group Survey Data
Users of the Clinician & Group Survey include medical practices, health plans, health systems, regional and community-based collaboratives, accreditation and certification organizations, State agencies, and Federal agencies (such as the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, Veterans Health Administration, and the Department of Defense).
These organizations use the Clinician & Group Survey to identify strengths and weaknesses, drive improvements in patient experience, and inform healthcare consumers.
- Compare survey data to aggregated results: Using data voluntarily submitted by survey sponsors, AHRQ reports aggregated scores for different kinds of physician practices and groups. Comparative data are available for 2018 and 2019; Chartbooks are available for 2012-2019.
- Improve patients' experiences with primary and specialty care: AHRQ offers a variety of written materials and recordings to inform and support the improvement process.
- Report scores to consumers: AHRQ offers specific guidance on reporting the results of CAHPS surveys as well as more comprehensive guidance on reporting quality information to consumers in TalkingQuality.
Variations on the Clinician & Group Survey
The core items in the Clinician & Group Survey serve as the foundation for two surveys required by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS):
- CAHPS for MIPS Survey—An optional measure for group practices participating in CMS's Merit-Based Incentive Payment System.
- CAHPS Survey for ACOs—An instrument for accountable care organizations participating in Medicare initiatives.
Both surveys incorporate supplemental items to produce patient experience measures beyond those generated by the core survey.
The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality first released the Clinician & Group Survey for adults and children in 2007, building on prior work conducted by the CAHPS Consortium as well as other developers of physician-level surveys of patient experience. Since that time, the survey has been updated and refined to better meet the changing circumstances of its users. At each stage of the process, the Consortium benefited from a significant amount of input from key stakeholders from the provider, health plan, and purchaser communities, as well as feedback from patients.
Learn about the development of the Clinician & Group Survey.