Quality Reviews Urges Swifter CMS Action on Digitization of Patient Surveys

Healthcare data leader offers roadmap for quicker, less burdensome shift to digital delivery of patient experience surveys
WASHINGTON, DC (April 8, 2019): Leaders in the digital collection and analysis of patient experience data have joined forces in response to a request for comment from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) seeking feedback on the prospect of adding web administration protocols to patient satisfaction surveys.

Quality Reviews, an industry disruptor empowering healthcare providers to capture real-time patient feedback via smartphones and other mobile devices, co-authored a comment letter urging CMS to enact a quicker, less burdensome transition to the digitization of patient surveys.

Since 2007, hospitals have been required to collect, submit, and publicly report patient satisfaction surveys through the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) in order to receive full Medicare payment. To date, however, the surveys are conducted entirely by mail or phone – resulting in excessive survey administration burden and declining survey completions that yield old data.

The CMS notice seeks to change this, but uses a lengthy two-year study window – putting the digitization of these existing surveys out of reach until at least 2022 – and falls short of incorporating existing industry expertise into its findings. What’s more, CMS appears to adhere to a single-vendor rule that has chilled the uptake of digital health surveys and demands clarity.

Quality Reviews notes that, by using real-time digital feedback tools, its hospital clients have seen a reduction of more than 50 percent in survey costs while enjoying 2-3 times more survey responses in a fraction of the time.

The physician-founded company also urges CMS to consider moving to a 10-question survey in order to improve response rates, modifying requirements for vendor certification to allow newer companies to compete, and reevaluating surveys every three to five years to account for changing consumer behaviors and technology.

“We’re glad to see CMS taking early steps to finally move patient surveys into the 21st century but, if the agency intends to deliver any meaningful benefit to patients and providers, we need to take bolder action – and faster,” said Quality Reviews CEO Edward Shin, MD. “CMS does not need to construct a new process from whole cloth. Industry leaders like Quality Reviews have been digitally collecting patient surveys for more than half a decade to great success, and we are eager to share what we know with regulators so that we can deliver a smarter, modernized patient experience survey tool.”

Read the full letter to CMS here.
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