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Agency Information Collection Activities: Proposed Collection; Comment Request

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Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, HHS.




This notice announces the intention of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) to request that the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) approve the proposed information collection project “Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (CAHPS) Clinician and Group Survey Database.”


Comments on this notice must be received by September 14, 2018.


Written comments should be submitted to: Doris Lefkowitz, Reports Clearance Officer, AHRQ, by email at Copies of the proposed collection plans, data collection instruments, and specific details on the estimated burden can be obtained from the AHRQ Reports Clearance Officer.

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Doris Lefkowitz, AHRQ Reports Clearance Officer, (301) 427-1477, or by emails at

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Proposed Project

Renewal of the Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (CAHPS) Clinician and Group Survey Database

In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act, 44 U.S.C. 3501-3521, AHRQ invites the public to comment on this proposed information collection. The CAHPS Database is a repository for data from selected CAHPS surveys. The primary purpose of the CAHPS Database is to facilitate comparisons of CAHPS survey results by survey users. This voluntary compilation of survey results from a large pool of data into a single database enables survey users to compare their own results to relevant Database results. The CAHPS Database also offers an important source of primary data for research related to consumer assessments of quality as measured by CAHPS surveys.

The CAHPS Clinician & Group Survey (CG-CAHPS) Database is the newest component of the CAHPS Database. It was developed in response to the growing demand for Database results for the various versions of the CG-CAHPS Survey, including the 12-month and Visit versions. In May 2011, the first set of Database results for both the 12-month and Visit versions was released through the CAHPS Database Online Reporting System.

AHRQ developed the database for CAHPS CG Survey data following the CAHPS Health Plan Database as a model. The CAHPS Health Plan Database was developed in 1998 in response to requests from health plans, purchasers, and CMS for survey data to support public reporting of health plan ratings, health plan accreditation and quality improvement (OMB Control Number 0935-0165, expiration 5/31/2020). Demand for survey results from the CG Survey has grown as well, and therefore AHRQ developed a dedicated Clinician and Group Database to support benchmarking, quality improvement, and research (OMB Control Number 0935-0197, expiration 02/28/2019).

The CAHPS Database contains data from AHRQ's standardized CAHPS Surveys which provide survey measures of quality to health care purchasers, consumers, regulators, and policy makers. The Health Plan Database also provides data for AHRQ's annual National Healthcare Quality and Disparities Reports.

The goal of this project is to renew the CAHPS CG Survey Database. This database will continue to update the CAHPS CG Database with the latest results of the CAHPS CG Survey. These results consist of 31 items that measure 5 areas or composites of patients' experiences with physicians and staff in outpatient medical practices. This database can be used to do the following:

(1) Improve care provided by individual providers, sites of care, medical groups, or provider networks.

(2) Offer several products and services, including providing survey results presented through an Online Reporting System, summary chartbooks, custom analyses, private reports in Excel format, and data for research purposes.

(3) Provides information to help identify strengths and areas with potential for improvement in patient care. The five composite measures are:

Getting Timely Appointments, Care, and Information

How Well Providers Communicate With Patients

Helpful, Courteous, and Respectful Office Staff

Providers' Use of Information to Coordinate Patient CareStart Printed Page 32873

Patients' Rating of the Provider

This study is being conducted by AHRQ through its contractor, Westat, pursuant to AHRQ's statutory authority to conduct and support research on health care and on systems for the delivery of such care, including activities with respect to the quality, effectiveness, efficiency, appropriateness and value of health care services and with respect to quality measurement and improvement, and health surveys and database development. 42 U.S.C. 299a(a)(1), (2), and (8).

Method of Collection

To achieve the goal of this project, the following activities and data collections will be implemented:

(1) Registration Form—The purpose of this form is to determine the eligibility status and initiate the registration process for participating organizations seeking to submit their CAHPS CG survey data voluntarily to the CAHPS CG Survey Database. The point of contact (POC) at the participating organization (or parent organization) will complete the form. The POC is either a corporate-level health manager or a survey vendor who contracts with a participating organization to collect the CAHPS CG survey data.

(2) Data Use Agreement—The purpose of the Data Use Agreement (DUA) is to obtain authorization from participating organizations to use their voluntarily submitted CAHPS CG survey data for analysis and reporting according to the terms specified in the DUA. The DUA states how data submitted by participating organizations will be used and provides confidentiality assurances. The POC at the organization will complete the form. Vendors do not sign the DUA.

(3) Data Submission—The number of submissions to the database may vary each year because medical groups and practices may not administer the survey and submit data each year. Data submission is typically handled by one POC who is either a health system, a medical group or practice or a survey vendor who contracts with the medical group or practice to collect data on their behalf. After the POC has completed the Registration Form and the DUA, they will submit patient-level data collected from the CAHPS CG survey to the CAHPS CG Survey Database. Data on organizational characteristics such as ownership, number of patient visits per week, provider specialty, and information related to survey administration such as mode, dates of survey administration, sample size, and response rate, which are collected as part of CAHPS CG survey operations are also submitted.

Each submission will consist of 3 data files: (1) A Group File that contains information about the group ownership, (2) a Practice File containing the practice ownership and affiliation (i.e., commercial, hospital or health system, university or academic medical center, community health center, military or county), number of providers working each week, sampling information, number of patient visits per week, contact information and (3) a Sample File that contains one record for each patient surveyed, the date of visit, survey disposition code, information about survey completion, and survey responses.

Survey data from the CAHPS CG Database is used to produce four types of products: (1) An online reporting of results available to the public on the CAHPS Database website; (2) individual participant reports (in Excel format), used for comparing a participating organization's CAHPS survey results to the database averages, that are confidential and customized for each participating organization that submits their data, (3) an annual Chartbook that presents summary-level results in a downloadable file in PDF format; and (4) a de-identified dataset that is made available to researchers for additional analyses.

Information for the CAHPS CG Database has been collected by AHRQ on an annual basis since 2010. Participating organizations are asked to submit their data voluntarily to the database each year. The data are cleaned with standardized programs, then aggregated and used to produce summarized results. In addition, reports in Excel format are produced that compare the participating organizations' results to the overall database results. These reports are sent via a secured FTP site upon the participating organization's request.

Database results and individual participant reports can serve a variety of purposes:

  • Identifying areas for quality improvement at multiple levels, including medical group, practice site, and individual practitioner.
  • Briefing senior leadership on patients' views of the health care they receive.
  • Supporting public reporting of patients' assessments of care.
  • Combining with other quality measures to examine health care outcomes.

The CAHPS CG Database supports research by providing a de-identified analytic database. Much like the CAHPS Health Plan Database developed in 1998 (OMB Control Number 0935-0165, Expiration Date 5/31/2020), researchers can use the CAHPS CG Survey Database to examine:

  • Disparities in CAHPS satisfaction scores by racial and ethnic characteristics of patients.
  • Comparisons of adult and child CAHPS survey results.

Analysis of case-mix factors affecting CAHPS scores, such as patient age, education, and self-reported health status.

Estimated Annual Respondent Burden

Exhibit 1 shows the estimated burden hours for the participating in the CG database. The 11 POCs in exhibit 1 are the number of estimated vendors. Survey vendors assist the Health/Medical entities with submitting data submission materials. Survey vendors generally submit all required survey data and other materials other than the DUA. The 86 POCs in exhibit 1 are the number of estimated participating Health/Medical entities based on 2017 submission.

Each vendor will register online for submission. The online Registration Form will require about 5 minutes to complete. The DUA will be completed by the 86 participating Health/Medical entities. Vendors do not sign DUAs. The DUA process requires about 15 minutes to sign and return by fax, mail or to upload directly to the submission system and includes an accompanying practice site excel file that is uploaded to the submission system. Each submitter will provide a copy of their questionnaire and the survey data file in the required file format. Survey data files must conform to the data file layout specifications provided by the CAHPS Database. The average number of data submissions per vendor is estimated to be 10. Once a data file is uploaded, the file will be automatically checked to ensure it conforms to the specifications and a data file status report will be produced and made available to the submitter. Submitters will review each report and will be expected to fix any errors in their data file and resubmit if necessary. It will take about one hour to complete each file submission. The total burden is estimated to be 133 hours annually.Start Printed Page 32874

Form nameNumber of respondents/ POCsNumber of responses for each POCHours per responseTotal burden hours
Registration Form1115/601
Data Use Agreement86115/6022
Data Submission11101110

Exhibit 2 shows the estimated annualized cost burden based on the respondents' time to complete the submission process. The cost burden is estimated to be $6,602 annually.

Exhibit 2—Estimated Annualized Cost Burden

Form nameNumber of respondents/ POCsTotal burden hoursAverage hourly wage rate *Total cost burden
Registration Form111a 40.95$41
Data Use Agreement8622b 93.442,056
Data Files Submission11110c 40.954,505
* National Compensation Survey: Occupational wages in the United States May 2016, “U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics.” (a) and (c) Based on the mean hourly wages for Computer Programmer (15-1131). (b) Based on the mean hourly wage for Chief Executives (11-1011).​oes/​current/​oes_​nat.htm.

Request for Comments

In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act, comments on AHRQ's information collection are requested with regard to any of the following: (a) Whether the proposed collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of AHRQ's health care research and health care information dissemination functions, including whether the information will have practical utility; (b) the accuracy of AHRQ's estimate of burden (including hours and costs) of the proposed collection(s) of information; (c) ways to enhance the quality, utility and clarity of the information to be collected; and (d) ways to minimize the burden of the collection of information upon the respondents, including the use of automated collection techniques or other forms of information technology.

Comments submitted in response to this notice will be summarized and included in the Agency's subsequent request for OMB approval of the proposed information collection. All comments will become a matter of public record.

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Francis D. Chesley, Jr.,

Acting Deputy Director.

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[FR Doc. 2018-15104 Filed 7-13-18; 8:45 am]