Using CAHPS patient experience data for patient-centered medical home transformation

Am J Manag Care. 2021 Sep 1;27(9):e322-e329. doi: 10.37765/ajmc.2021.88745.


Objectives: To examine how primary care practices use the Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (CAHPS) survey and its patient-centered medical home (PCMH) items during their PCMH transition.

Study design: Qualitative study of practices' use of patient experience data during PCMH transformation, based on a random sample of primary care practices engaged in PCMH transformation, stratified by region, practice size, PCMH recognition history, and use of the CAHPS PCMH survey.

Methods: We interviewed 105 practice leaders from 294 sampled practices (36% response rate) and used content analysis to identify themes about uses of patient experience data for practice improvement during PCMH transformation.

Results: Patient experience data were used primarily to assess and track improvements toward PCMH goals and as quality improvement (QI) metrics. CAHPS measures were used most often to discuss best practices, share data with patient advisory councils, and improve provider performance. The CAHPS PCMH survey helped practices improve patient-centeredness, particularly in coordinating care and supporting patient self-management and communication. The CAHPS PCMH items that assisted practices most were about patient self-management and provider referrals. Most practice leaders using the CAHPS PCMH survey felt that its items were actionable for standardizing PCMH changes or making structural changes. Practices administering CAHPS surveys focused on a more diverse set of QI areas.

Conclusions: CAHPS surveys were considered actionable for PCMH transformation and used in standardizing and coordinating care. The CAHPS PCMH items were considered integral to the continuous QI needed for moving beyond formal PCMH recognition and maximizing transformation. This supports the National Committee for Quality Assurance's recommendation to administer the CAHPS or CAHPS PCMH survey for PCMH transformation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Delivery of Health Care*
  • Humans
  • Patient Outcome Assessment
  • Patient-Centered Care*
  • Primary Health Care
  • Quality Improvement