Hospital Consumer Assessment of Providers and Systems (HCAPS)

National Center for Interprofessional Practice and Education's picture
Submitted by National Center... on Oct 17, 2016 - 1:51pm CDT

Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ)
Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS)

The Health Care Quality Information from the Consumer Perspective (HCAHPS, pronounced "H-caps"), also known as the CAHPS Hospital Survey, is the first national, standardized, publicly reported survey of patients' perspectives of hospital care.  CAHPS surveys focus on aspects of care that meet two criteria: (1) The people who received care are the best and/or only source of the information ; and (2) Consumers and patients identified the information as important to them. CAHPS surveys do not collect information that can be gathered more effectively through other means (e.g., through medical records).  The survey was extensively developed and researched prior to adoption by CMS/AHRQ; results are used for quality bench marking purposes.  It has two major limitations for the evaluation of IPECP, however.  First, the survey does NOT ask patients and consumers about interprofessional practices, teamwork, or collaboration per se.  Second, the data are aggregated at the hospital level, and ARHQ states that within-hospital scores cannot be compared.  Thus, survey results may not be sensitive to identify IPCP - specific interventions, unless the intervention is at the organizational level.

Link to Resources
Descriptive Elements
Who is Being Assessed or Evaluated?: 
Instrument Type: 
Self-report (e.g., survey, questionnaire, self-rating)
Notes for Type: 

Survey of patients after leaving the hospital (48 hours to 6 weeks post-discharge).

Source of Data: 
Patients, clients
Instrument Content: 
Patient / client satisfaction, experience of care
Notes for Content: 

Items reflect nine domains determined to be most important to patients and consumers:

  1. Communication with doctors
  2. Communication with nurses
  3. Responsiveness of hospital staff
  4. Pain management
  5. Communication about medicines
  6. Discharge information
  7. Cleanliness of the hospital environment
  8. Quietness of the hospital environment
  9. Transition of care.
Instrument Length: 

32 items

Item Format: 
A majority of the items are 4-point scales measuring frequency of desired processes and outcomes of care ("never," "sometimes," "usually," "always") with some NA options. Five items are "yes/no" with NA options, one multiple-choice item pertaining to discharge. A 11-point scale is use to measure overall satisfaction (0 = "worst possible hospital" to 10 = "best possible hospital").
Hospitals may use an approved survey vendor or collect their own HCAHPS data, if approved by CMS to do so. The surveys may administered in four forms: mailed paper and pencil, telephone, telephone with follow-up, and active interactive voice response systems (English and Spanish only). Surveys are submitted to ARHQ for scoring; data are maintained in a database and used for quality bench marking purposes.
See the AHRQ website.
English, Spanish, Chinese, Russian, Vietnamese, Portuguese.
Quality scores are provided by AHRQ at the hospital level. Due to sample size restriction, the CAHPS is not recommended for comparison of units or providers within hospitals.
Open access (available on this website)
Notes on Access: 

All CAHPS products, resources, and services are in the public domain. Technical assistance, including general guidance as well as project-specific advice, is available to all users at no charge through the CAHPS Help Line ( or 1-800-492-9261).

Psychometric Elements: Evidence of Validity
The fact sheet reports extensive development of items through literature review, cognitive interviews, consumer focus groups.
Response Process: 
The fact sheet reports a 3-state pilot and extensive field testing.
Internal Structure: 
The fact sheet reports extensive psychometric analyses.
Relation to Other Variables: 
See above.
See above.