Emergency Department Patient Experience of Care (EDPEC/ED CAHPS) Survey

According to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), emergency departments (EDs) handle 28 percent of all acute care visits in the U.S. After patients are triaged and treated, many transition from the ED into the hospital, emphasizing the critical role EDs play in creating patients’ perceptions of care. Hospitals have one chance to create a first impression, and the ED team often becomes the face of care.

In order to better understand ED experiences from the patient’s perspective CMS is developing an ED Patient Experiences with Care (EDPEC) Survey. Within the next couple of years, an updated EDPEC instrument will join the Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (CAHPS®) family of surveys. Any adult patients who receive care at a fully hospital-based ED will be eligible to take the survey. Data from the survey will enable healthcare facilities to improve the quality of ED visits and promote effective communication and coordination of care. Additionally, consumers will have the ability to compare EDs in their area and across the nation.

Why choose PRC?

PRC clients are contributing to the development and testing of the current EDPEC Survey. Through that relationship, PRC gains insights into the new instrument and offers feedback to fine-tune the tool and enhance the survey administration experience for healthcare organizations and consumers.

Over the past 35 years, PRC has worked closely with government entities to ensure that survey designs produce results that are accurate and reliable. As effective as core questions are, however, they do not measure excellence. So, in cases like this, where CMS allows hospital-specific customization, PRC partners with clients to develop questions that will help them analyze precisely where to invest resources to improve performance and become excellent places for patients to be treated, physicians to practice medicine, and employees to work.

Why is excellence important? Among surveyed patients who rate the care they received as excellent, 88 percent say that the likelihood they would recommend the hospital to others is also excellent. Excellence is a foundation for growth, and PRC is the only custom research partner committed to helping hospitals achieve excellence. Download the brochure.

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Here are more reasons to choose PRC:

PRC is a pioneer in accurate, timely, and reliable telephone research. Our documented expertise in conducting telephone surveys with patients shows that this methodology is the most reliable way to collect responses that accurately reflect patient perceptions. PRC’s telephone surveys reduce lag time, engage patients directly, and reach a representative cross-section of the patient population. They also generate the highest completion rates.

PRC’s EasyView.com® applications empower clients to create customized reports to shape the story the data reveal. This powerful tool and the training to use it are provided at no additional cost.

How is the government involved in EDPEC survey?

CMS is developing the survey and conducting field tests at several hospitals to validate its effectiveness at measuring patients’ perceptions of the care they receive. In fact, CMS is currently working with hospitals across the country to contribute to its mode experiment, which helps determine how various survey methodologies (telephone, mail, or a blended approach) influence patients’ responses and participation. The kind of fine-tuning that is now taking place will help ensure the survey’s reliability in a variety of care settings.

Once CMS has completed the cognitive testing, focus groups, field testing, and mode evaluation that are part of its survey development process, the questionnaire will be eligible for CAHPS® accreditation and CMS Office of Management and Budget (OMB) approval. Until then, the survey will be known as EDPEC, rather than ED CAHPS®.

What does EDPEC measure?

Three versions of the questionnaire have been tested. One is designed for patients discharged immediately after their ED visit. The second is a self-contained survey designed for patients who are admitted as hospital inpatients after initial treatment in the ED. The third is designed to be administered to patients as an add-on to an existing HCAHPS survey.

Since the first round of testing, RAND and CMS have decided to discontinue development on the second survey option, which evaluated admitted ED patients without the HCAHPS core.

Each version focuses on evaluating patients’ perceptions at different points of their experience. The survey questions are grouped into the following dimensions:

Getting Timely Care
Communication with Patients About Their Medicines
How Well Emergency Room Doctors and Nurses Communicate with Patients
Communication with Patients Prior to Their Release
Overall Rating of Emergency Department
Likelihood to Recommend

Because the survey is still undergoing testing, PRC is able to help hospitals customize the measurement tool to address their needs by blending questionnaires or adding items to the EDPEC survey.

What’s next?

CMS is partnering with the RAND Corporation to conduct another Mode Experiment, along with a Feasibility Study. The Mode Experiment is designed to address the questions that were not resolved in previous tests, including whether proxy responses influence the results or not. Similarly, this experiment intends to test how many ED-specific questions can be added to the HCAHPS core before impairing the response rate or reliability of the data. The Feasibility Test will happen alongside the Mode Experiment, but will focus on slightly different variables. This activity will only use the survey tool designed for patients discharged to the community. It is primarily testing the variations of mixed-mode surveys:

  • Mailed questionnaires with phone follow-up
  • Mailed notification with online survey
  • Email notification with online survey
  • Email notification with online survey, followed by mailed questionnaires, followed by phone attempts
  • Handout survey from the ED to be returned by mail or call vendor for phone interview



  • June – mid October 2015: Site recruitment
  • October – December 2015: Coordination among vendors, hospitals, and RAND to create test files
  • January – June 2016: Survey administration with sampling twice per month for Jan-Mar discharges
  • August – September 2016: Feasibility debriefing with participating hospitals
  • July – November 2016: Data Analysis
  • December 2016 – February 2017: Final reports shared with participating hospitals


Stay tuned for news about EDPEC survey development. As soon as CMS launches a comprehensive website, we will offer updates, opinions, and links. In the meantime, let us help you help you evaluate your options for measuring patients’ experiences in emergency departments.

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