The National Quality Forum last week released a 76-page report endorsing the federal government's proposed survey form to assess patient satisfaction at hospitals, a milestone in a three-year effort by the CMS and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality to come up with an industry-accepted method for comparing hospitals based on patient satisfaction.
The survey form, the hospital version of the Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems, also known as H-CAHPS, is undergoing a 30-day public comment period ending Dec. 7. Hospitals are expected to begin using the form next year, with data available to the public on an HHS Web site in 2007.
The NQF report describes the survey questions and methodology and is available for purchase through the NQF. The latest version of the survey includes 27 questions, down from the original 66. The AHRQ submitted 25 to the NQF as part of a process to obtain consensus from healthcare stakeholders. Two questions, regarding whether patients felt they were treated with courtesy and respect, were added back during the process, said Chuck Darby, an AHRQ project officer on H-CAHPS, who oversaw the survey program.