Background: The In-Center Hemodialysis Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (ICH CAHPS) Survey is the first patient reported outcome measure included in the U.S. Medicare End Stage Renal Disease Quality Incentive Program. Administered twice yearly, it assesses in-center dialysis experience and survey responses are tied to dialysis facility payments. Low response rates, currently approximately 35%, raise concern for possible underrepresentation of patient groups.
Methods: Cross-sectional analysis of survey administration in 2012 to all in-center hemodialysis patients in Dialysis Clinic, Inc. (DCI) facilities nationally over 18 years old who received hemodialysis at their facility for at least 3 months. Patient-level covariates included demographic, clinical, laboratory, and functional characteristics. Random effects multivariable logistic regression was used to assess survey non-response.
Results: Among 11,055 eligible patients 6541 (59%) were non-responders. Of the remaining 4514 responders, 549 (14%) surveys were not usable due to presence of proxy help or incomplete responses. Non-responders were more likely to be men, non-white, younger, single, dual Medicare/Medicaid eligible, less educated, non-English speaking, and not active on the transplant list; non-responders had longer ESRD vintage, lower body mass index, lower serum albumin, worse functional status, and more hospitalizations, missed treatments, and shortened treatments. Similar associations were found using more parsimonious multivariable analyses and after imputing missing data.
Conclusions: Non-responders to the ICH CAHPS significantly differed from responders, broadly spanning individuals with fewer socioeconomic advantages and greater illness burden, raising limitations in interpreting facility survey results. Future research should assess reasons for non-response to improve ICH CAHPS generalizability and utility.
Keywords: CAHPS; Hemodialysis; ICH CAHPS; Patient experience; Patient reported outcome; Patient satisfaction; Survey.