Analyzing CAHPS Survey Data

Users of CAHPS surveys may take a few different approaches to analyzing their data to generate results that can be reported to health care providers, administrators, and consumers. The CAHPS Team supports users in conducting that analysis by developing and releasing CAHPS Analysis Programs in SAS and the R programming language.

First Step: Get Data Ready for Analysis

Consult Preparing Data from CAHPS Surveys for Analysis (PDF, 369 KB) to learn:

  • How to transform the raw data from the CAHPS surveys into data that can be analyzed using either the CAHPS Analysis Program for SAS or other statistical software.
  • How to compute frequencies, top box scores, and other proportional scores (e.g., % Always, % Usually, and % Never and Sometimes).

CAHPS Analysis Program in SAS

The CAHPS Analysis Program—often referred to as the CAHPS macro—is a free program written for SAS (version 6.0 or later) that enables survey users to conduct the analyses needed to produce valid comparisons of performance across similar health care organizations. The CAHPS macro adjusts the data for case mix, generates a distribution of survey results for each of the measures, calculates the average score (the mean across all response categories) for both individual survey items and composite measures, and indicates whether an entity’s scores are statistically different from the average.

The CAHPS Team recommends that you use the CAHPS macro to adjust your survey data for respondent age, education, and general health status. This adjustment makes it more likely that differences observed through comparison are due to real differences in performance, rather than differences in the characteristics of enrollees or patients.

AHRQ’s CAHPS Consortium developed the CAHPS macro to work with all CAHPS surveys. It is updated periodically to add functionality, produce additional types of output, and correct or debug issues with previous versions.

Current version: 4.1c

Requirements: Base SAS and the SAS/STAT module.

Download files:

In Development: CAHPS Analysis Program in R

Some survey users are using the free R software to analyze CAHPS survey results. The CAHPS Consortium is currently developing and testing a program based in R that can be used to analyze CAHPS survey data. If you are interested in using this program when it is released, please contact the CAHPS User Network at 1–800–492–9261.

Page last reviewed June 2017
Page originally created August 2016
Internet Citation: Analyzing CAHPS Survey Data. Content last reviewed June 2017. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD. http://www.ahrq.gov/cahps/surveys-guidance/helpful-resources/analysis/index.html