CAHPS Surgical Care Survey

The CAHPS Surgical Care Survey asks adult patients to report on surgical care, surgeons, their staff, and anesthesiologists. This standardized survey expands on the CAHPS Clinician & Group Survey, which focuses on primary and specialty care, by incorporating domains that are relevant to surgical care, such as informed consent, anesthesia care, and post-operative follow-up. The National Quality Forum endorsed this survey in June 2012.

The Surgical Care Survey is unique among CAHPS surveys in that it assesses patients' experiences with surgical care in both the inpatient and outpatient settings by asking respondents about their care:

  • Before surgery (12 items).
  • During surgery (11 items, including 8 about anesthesiology).
  • After surgery (9 items).

Other questions ask patients to report on their experiences with office staff during visits and to rate the surgeon.

No CAHPS supplemental items were developed for the Surgical Care Survey. To capture information about patients' experiences in domains not addressed by this survey, users may add supplemental items designed for the CAHPS Clinician & Group Survey.

Purpose of the Survey

The main purpose of the CAHPS Surgical Care Survey is to address the need to assess and improve the experiences of surgical patients. Like other CAHPS surveys, this questionnaire focuses on aspects of surgical quality that are important to patients and for which patients are the best source of information. The survey results are expected to be useful to everyone with a need for information on the quality of surgeons and surgical care, including patients, practice groups, health plans, insurers, and specialty boards.

  • Patients can use the information to help make better and more informed choices about their surgical care.
  • Practices, health plans, and insurers can use the survey results for quality improvement initiatives and incentives. Learn more in the CAHPS Ambulatory Care Improvement Guide.
  • Surgeons may be able to use the survey for Maintenance of Certification.

Get the Surgical Care Survey

The following documents are available for this survey:

Users of this survey may also want to consult the following guidance:

Quality Measures From the Surgical Care Survey

The Surgical Care Survey produces the following measures of patient experience:

  • Information to help you prepare for surgery
  • How well surgeon communicates with patients before surgery
  • Surgeon's attentiveness on day of surgery
  • Information to help you recover from surgery
  • How well surgeon communicates with patients after surgery
  • Helpful, courteous, and respectful staff at surgeon's office
  • Patients' rating of the surgeon

Additionally, two measures of patient experience with anesthesia care be calculated. However, testing during the survey development process indicated that these measures would be best suited to efforts to improve patient experience rather than public reporting.

Review CAHPS Surgical Care Survey Measures.

Brief History

The development of this survey was sponsored by the American College of Surgeons (ACS) and the Surgical Quality Alliance (SQA). The CAHPS Project Officers and Principal Investigators reviewed the submitted survey and adopted it as an official CAHPS product in early 2010. The 2.0 version of the Surgical Care Survey was released in December 2011 to maintain consistency with changes made to the Clinician & Group Survey.

Learn about the development of the Surgical Care Survey.

Page last reviewed February 2018
Page originally created October 2011
Internet Citation: CAHPS Surgical Care Survey. Content last reviewed February 2018. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD. http://www.ahrq.gov/cahps/surveys-guidance/surgical/index.html