Medicare.gov recommends use of the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) survey, which evaluates nine areas. These areas include nurse and doctor communication, staff responsiveness, pain management, communication about medicines, discharge information, care transition, cleanliness/quietness of the hospital, overall hospital rating and willingness to recommend the hospital.
HCAHPSonline.org states that the HCAHPS survey is given to randomly selected patients and consists of 32 questions. These questions cover 21 aspects of patient care based on the nine areas previously mentioned. The survey also includes four screener questions and seven demographic questions to ensure an appropriate mix of patients. The HCAHPS survey may be administered using one of four approved methods: mail only, telephone only, mixed (mail followed by telephone), and active interactive voice response (IVR).
The purpose of the HCAHPS, according to HCAHPSonline.org, is to provide a standardized method of collecting data about patients' perspectives of care. Prior to HCAHPS, each hospital evaluated patients' perspectives of care differently. The HCAHPS allows comparison of the same set of patients' perspectives of care across different hospitals. All hospitals and survey vendors who wish to participate in HCAHPS data collection and public reporting must meet specific program requirements and must be in compliance with the requirements described in the "HCAHPS Quality Assurance Guidelines, V9.0." Prior to administration of the HCAHPS survey, hospitals and vendors must submit a participation form to the HCAHPS project team.