- What can physicians do to improve on the dimensions of care measured by the survey?
The most important benefits of the survey are expected to result from motivating and guiding physicians, in partnership with patients, to improve. It is hoped that the potential for professional satisfaction and for recognition and appreciation by peers, the public, patients, and organizations with which physicians are affiliated will be one factor contributing to physicians' motivation for continuing high-quality performance and improvement in the elements of practice measured in the survey. There are various tools and resources that can enable physicians to refine their focus on specific elements of their everyday practice that affect the broad dimensions measured in the survey, and there are tools to help physicians learn how to make improvements, and practice these improvements. Improvements can come in each of the broad areas measured in the survey–physician-patient communication, access to care, and office staff helpfulness and courtesy.
The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), which developed the questions used in this survey, has put together an online CAHPS Improvement Guide to help healthcare providers and organizations improve on the various aspects of care measured by a family of surveys, referred to as the CAHPS surveys. This includes surveys about physicians, hospitals, health plans, and other organizations. The Guide has a wide variety of advice and resources on such subjects as:
- Are You Ready to Improve?—advice on the organizational behaviors that are critical to success in improving patients' experiences with care.
- Analyzing Your Survey Results—advice on how to look beyond the scores to identify the best opportunities for improvement.
- Quality Improvement Steps—advice on an effective process for implementing interventions to achieve specific performance goals.
- Possible Interventions—advice on strategies for improving specific aspects of patients' experience with care. Some of these strategies will be relevant mainly to hospitals, health plans, and other organizations, but many will be useful to medical groups and individual physicians' offices.