CAHPS Survey Design and Administration
Through the CAHPS program, AHRQ supports ongoing efforts to identify and test strategies for improving the reliability, validity, and usefulness of CAHPS surveys. Since the program's inception in the mid-1990s, AHRQ has funded research on survey design, sampling, and data collection strategies to ensure that survey users have the information they need to determine how to collect the best data possible. Specifically, CAHPS research investigates ways to produce survey scores that:
- Represent the target enrollee or patient population.
- Reflect their experiences with healthcare.
- Can be compared across health care groups or organizations.
CAHPS Survey Administration Research
Recent research by the CAHPS team has focused on survey design, format, and length; the use of incentives to encourage responses; alternative sampling frames and approaches to sampling; and the use of additional modes or modification to existing data collection approaches. Read a summary of research findings and review a bibliography of articles on CAHPS survey administration.
- Key Findings: CAHPS Survey Administration: What We Know and Potential Research Questions (PDF, 738 KB; 15 pages)
- Selected Reading: Review a bibliography of published articles on CAHPS survey administration
- Recent Insights Into CAHPS Survey Modes and Response Rates (Webcast) (November 19, 2019)
Recent Insights into CAHPS Survey Modes and Response Rates(1:29:02)
- Developing Invitation Messages That Increase CAHPS Survey Response Rates (Webcast) (September 10, 2019)
Developing Invitation Messages That Increase CAHPS Survey Response Rates(1:01:04)
Research Meeting on Advances in Survey Methodology
In September 2018, AHRQ brought together researchers and key stakeholders to share findings about CAHPS survey administration methods, discuss stakeholders' needs and concerns, and identify important research questions. This research meeting focused on two related topics:
- Improving response rates for CAHPS surveys.
- Ensuring the representativeness of respondents to CAHPS surveys.
The speakers and participants included members of the CAHPS Consortium, other researchers working with CAHPS surveys, experts in survey methodology, representatives of Federal agencies that use CAHPS surveys, experts in patient-centered care, and other stakeholders such as health plans, health systems, and accrediting organizations. The presentations and discussion focused on three issues that point to priorities for future research:
- The promise and challenges of various survey modes. Attendees articulated a need for additional research on:
- Feasibility and effectiveness of various survey modes, including "electronic" survey methods.
- Best sequencing of survey modes.
- Strategies for maximizing response rates with mixed-mode survey administration.
- Strategies for encouraging survey responses. Attendees supported additional testing of how the wording in survey invitation letters and emails can be customized to motivate people to respond.
- The potential impact of changes to survey length, design, and format. Attendees supported further experimentation with survey design and layout to improve standardization across modes, ease comprehension, and encourage respondents to complete the questions.
To learn more, read a summary of the September 2018 research meeting on survey methodology (PDF, 442 KB).