CAHPS Clinician & Group Survey
The CAHPS® Clinician & Group Survey (CG-CAHPS) assesses patients' experiences with health care providers and staff in doctors' offices. Survey results can be used to:
- Improve care provided by individual providers, sites of care, medical groups, or provider networks.
- Equip consumers with information they can use to choose physicians and other health care providers, physician practices, or medical groups.
The survey includes standardized instruments for adults and children that can be used in both primary care and specialty care settings. To customize their questionnaires, users can also add supplemental items, including a structured series of open-ended questions. Version 3.0 of the Clinician & Group Survey was released in July 2015. The legacy version—version 2.0—remains available.
Learn more about this survey:
- CAHPS Bibliography: Clinician & Group Survey
- Webcast: Introducing the New CAHPS Clinician & Group Survey 3.0
Get the Clinician & Group Survey 3.0
The ZIP file includes:
- The English and Spanish survey instruments in Word and PDF.
- Descriptions of supplemental item sets for this survey.
- Guidance on administering the survey, including a sample telephone script and sample letters.
- Information about the survey measures.
Information in the guidance documents is based on the survey developers' extensive research into best practices in survey design and administration as well as analyses of data collected during the field testing of each instrument. AHRQ does not require the use of a specific methodology for sampling or survey administration.
For quick access to the survey and recommended administration methods:
- Clinician & Group Survey 3.0 (PDF, 225 KB)
- Fielding the CAHPS Clinician & Group Survey (PDF, 548 KB)
Users of this survey may also want to consult the following guidance:
Quality Measures From the Clinician & Group Survey 3.0
The CAHPS Clinician & Group Survey 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 (New to the 3.0 version).
- Helpful, Courteous, and Respectful Office Staff.
- Patients' Rating of the Provider.
For additional guidance on reporting the results of this survey, refer to the following resources from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's Aligning Forces for Quality program:
- How To Report Results of the CAHPS Clinician & Group Survey (PDF, 971 KB)
- Developing a Public Report for the CAHPS Clinician & Group Survey: A Decision Guide
- Aggregating and Analyzing CAHPS Clinician & Group Survey Results: A Decision Guide
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 are designed to be fielded as a set. They address the following subjects:
- Patient Narratives (Open-ended comments).
- Patient-Centered Medical Home (PCMH).
- Health Literacy.
- Health Information Technology.
Get the Clinician & Group Survey 2.0
There are three versions of the Clinician & Group Survey 2.0:
- 12-Month Survey 2.0: Use this survey to ask adults and children about their experiences with care from a doctor's office in the last 12 months.
- Download the CG-CAHPS 12-Month Survey 2.0 and Instructions (ZIP, 9.52 MB).
- Patient-Centered Medical Home Survey 2.0: This survey combines the 12-Month Survey with the Patient-Centered Medical Home (PCMH) Item Set. Use this survey to ask adults and children about their experiences with care from a patient-centered medical home in the last 12 months.
- Visit Survey 2.0: Use this survey to ask adults and children about their experience with care at their most recent visit to a doctor's office.
- Download the CG-CAHPS Visit Survey 2.0 and Instructions (ZIP, 9.58 MB).
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.
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, or site level?
The Clinician & Group Survey can be administered at the provider, practice, or site level. The level of sampling depends on the planned unit of analysis. If you are interested in collecting data on a specific site of care, you should sample at the site level. If you want data on the performance of individual clinicians, you should sample at the provider level. Sampling guidance is available in Fielding the CAHPS Clinician & Group Survey (PDF, 548 KB).
What is the timeframe for the sampling frame for the Clinician & Group Survey?
The sampling frame for the Clinician & Group Survey should include all patients who have had at least one visit, whether scheduled or unscheduled, in the last 6 months.
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 survey?
The items in the Clinician & Group Survey 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.
Implementing the Clinician & Group Survey
Users of this 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).
Learn about strategies for implementing this survey at the community level:
- The Evolving Landscape for the CAHPS Clinician & Group Survey: Understanding and Navigating Multiple Surveying Requirements, November 2014, available from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's Aligning Forces for Quality program.
- Forces Driving Implementation of the CAHPS® Clinician & Group Survey, March 2013, available from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
- Leverage Existing Efforts or Use a Centralized Approach? Two Strategies for Community-Wide Implementation of the CAHPS Clinician & Group Survey, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Aligning Forces for Quality (PDF, 222 KB).
Using Clinician & Group Survey Data
Organizations use the Clinician & Group Survey for several purposes.
- Compare survey data to aggregated results: Using data voluntarily submitted by survey sponsors, AHRQ's CAHPS Database reports scores that can be used to assess the overall performance of different kinds of physician practices and groups and to analyze the performance of a single physician practice or group relative to appropriate benchmarks.
- 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.
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.