Health New England | Health Matters | Wellness Guide 2019
30 ∞ Health & Wellness Guide | 2019 How’s Your Health Plan? CAHPS Survey Lets Your Voice Be Heard YOUR HEALTH PLAN Doing something better begins with recogniz- ing where there’s room to improve. It’s true for athletes, employees and health plans. And it’s why you may be asked to take part in a Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Provid- ers and Systems (CAHPS) survey about your experiences with your health care. The CAHPS surveys are developed by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Qual- ity, which consults with a group of public and private research organizations. Among other things, the surveys help health plans see how well they are meeting consumers’ needs and how they might be able to meet them better. Your Experience Matters You might think of CAHPS as a patient sat- isfaction survey. But it’s not quite the same thing. Rather than focusing solely on how happy you were with your care, the CAHPS health plan survey seeks details about how you experienced or perceived that care. For example, the survey asks: • How frequently it was easy to get the tests or treatments you needed. • Whether you received care for the same prob- lem more than three times in the past year. • How often your doctor explained things in a way that was easy to understand. • How often your health plan’s customer ser- vice department treated you with courtesy and respect. These are issues people say are important to them. So the more feedback your health plan gets, the easier it will be for the staff members to know if they’re meeting members’ expecta- tions. If they’re not, they will know where to focus their efforts to improve their service. Tools You Can Use CAHPS surveys are also used to evaluate people’s experiences with other aspects of health care. For instance, hospitals and home health agencies get their own CAHPS feedback. The results are available to the public. So they do more than just give the health plan, hospital or other entity an incentive to im- prove. They also give you a chance to compare your options and see how they stack up against one another. That can help you make important decisions about your health care—and help you get the best care possible. To learn more about CAHPS surveys, visit cahps.ahrq.gov .