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Possibilities for Shortening the CAHPS Clinician and Group Survey



The Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (CAHPS) Clinician and Group adult survey (CG-CAHPS) includes 34 items used to monitor the quality of ambulatory care from the patient's perspective. CG-CAHPS includes items assessing access to care, provider communication, and courtesy and respect of office staff. Stakeholders have expressed concerns about the length of the CG-CAHPS survey.


This paper explores the impact on reliability and validity of the CAHPS domain scores of reducing the numbers of items used to assess the 3 core CG-CAHPS domains (Provider Communication, Access to Care, and Courteous and Helpful Office Staff).

Research design

CG-CAHPS data reported here consist of 136,725 patients across 4 datasets including ambulatory clinics, patient-centered medical homes, and Accountable Care Organizations. Analyses are conducted in parallel across the 4 settings to allow evaluations across data source.


Multiple regression and ANOVA techniques were used to evaluate reliability for shorter sets of items. Site-level correlations with the overall rating of the provider were compared to evaluate the impact on validity. The change in practices' rank-ordering as a function of domain revision is also reported.


Findings suggest that the Provider Communication (6 items) and Access (5 items) domains can be reduced to as few as 2 items each and Office Staff (2 items) can be reduced to a single item without a substantial loss in reliability or content.


The performance of several of the reduced-length options for CG-CAHPS domains closely matches the full versions and may be useful in health care settings where the full-length survey is impractical due to time or cost constraints.

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