In-Center Hemodialysis Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (ICH CAHPS) Survey

Professional Research Consultants, Inc., (PRC) is proud to be approved by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) as an ICH CAHPS survey vendor.

ICH_CAHPS.jpgWhy choose PRC?

PRC has helped clients successfully navigate changing CMS protocols and timelines for more than 10 years. In that time, ICH facilities have come to view PRC’s team of CAHPS specialists as trusted partners dedicated to ensuring that they flawlessly implement every mandated change to the ICH CAHPS program. Regardless of the size or population of a dialysis center, PRC can customize a survey administration plan to meet organizational research goalsClients continue to count on PRC experts to conduct their ICH CAHPS surveys, and it’s easy to understand why. 

PRC pioneered accurate, timely, and reliable telephone research and continues to refine its methodology. PRC’s interviewers are trained professionals who know how to build relationships over the telephone and will bring courtesy, compassion and professionalism to every conversation they have with your patients.

As a full-service market research company, PRC also provides mail-out/mail-back surveys as an option for clients who feel this is a more appropriate methodology for these vulnerable patients. Seamless transmission and processing ensure the timely availability of mailed responses on PRC EasyView®.

PRC’s© applications empower clients to create customized reports to shape the story the data reveal. For example, the CAHPS Composite tool displays top box scores for all reporting composites as well as scores for individual survey questions. Because composite scores are critical to public reporting, clients find this tool especially useful. Powerful tools like this, and the training to use them, are provided at no cost.

PRC’s people are difference-makers. Any survey company can create mountains of data. What sets PRC apart are people who can help ICH facilities move mountains to make a difference in their CAHPS scores and their patients’ lives.

Download the ICH CAHPS brochure.


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How is the government involved in this survey?

Although CMS has been publishing comparative clinical information about the performance of dialysis centers since 2001, patient experience has never been reflected in the data. Until now. Composite patient experience data collected from ICH CAHPS surveys conducted in 2015 started appearing alongside the clinical results on CMS’ Dialysis Facility Compare website in October 2016. Filling this information gap is important because healthcare consumers continue to assign greater value to patient experience than clinical data.

The effort to develop a patient experience survey began in 2004 when CMS partnered with AHRQ (Agency for Healthcare Research & Quality) to develop a CAHPS Survey for End Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) patients who receive in-center hemodialysis from dialysis facilities. The ICH CAHPS Survey is designed to measure the experiences of people receiving in-center hemodialysis care from Medicare-certified dialysis facilities. Development and testing took place in 2005, and survey measures were endorsed by the National Quality Forum (NQF) in 2007. (Source: In-Center Hemodialysis CAHPS Survey website)

Here are the next relevant dates on the horizon for ICH CAHPS data collection:

Date Event
April - June 2017 Sampling Window
August 31, 2017 Deadline for NEW facilities to authorize a vendor
October 9, 2017 Sample is distributed by ICH Project Team
October 25, 2017 Pre-notification letter is sent
November 8, 2017 Data collection begins
January 17, 2018 Data collection ends
January 31, 2018 Data submission deadline

The survey is administered to adult patients, 18 years of age or older, who have undergone at least three months of treatment at their current dialysis center. It is designed to help CMS accomplish these goals, in exchange for the public’s investment in healthcare:

  1. To produce comparable data from the patient’s perspective that allow objective and meaningful comparisons between in-center hemodialysis (ICH) facilities on domains that are important to consumers.
  2. To leverage the public reporting of survey results to create incentives for ICH facilities to improve their quality of care.
  3. To use the public reporting of survey results to create greater transparency and accountability around the delivery of healthcare.

How does this process work?

When an ICH facility designates PRC as its survey vendor, CMS provides PRC with a file identifying patients in the sample population who meet these criteria: they must be at least 18 years old; they must have been receiving treatment from their current ICH facility for at least three months; and they must not be under the care of a hospice or any other institution. PRC will then administer the survey twice each year. PRC has over 35 years of experience administering excellent surveys by telephone, but this survey population has demonstrated a stronger participation rate through mailed surveys. Contact PRC to discuss which methodology would be the best fit for you.

To ensure the highest level accuracy, dialysis centers should be sure to maintain current information in CROWNWeb for all of the patients they care for.

What does ICH CAHPS measure?

Regardless of methodology, selected patients receive a pre-notification letter alerting them to the upcoming survey, which includes the following survey domains, or categories of questions.

Reported Measures  
Nephrologists’ Communication and Caring 6 questions
Quality of Dialysis Center Care and Operations 17 questions
Providing Information to Patients 9 questions
Rating of the Nephrologist 1 question
Rating of the Dialysis Center Staff 1 question
Rating of the Dialysis Facility 1 question

What’s next?

If you are currently partnering with PRC on an ICH CAHPS study, your Account Management team is ready to talk about your existing data and coach you on ways to improve. PRC continues to innovate and develop® to best serve users like you. This means creating displays that are unique to the ICH CAHPS tool, so you and your team can establish goals and measure achievements.

If your organization has not already chosen PRC to conduct its ICH CAHPS survey:

  1. Designate a staff member to serve as your facility’s ICH CAHPS Survey Administrator.
  2. Go to the ICH CAHPS website and complete the ICH Facility User Registration Form. Once you’ve completed this form, you’ll receive credentials you can use to access the private links on the ICH CAHPS website.
  3. When registering for credentials to access the private links on the ICH CAHPS website, the system will automatically generate a customized Consent Form for your ICH facility. Complete this according to the given instructions.
  4. Contact us at PRC to serve as your CMS-approved ICH CAHPS Survey vendor to administer the ICH CAHPS Survey on behalf of your ICH facility.
  5. Log in to the ICH CAHPS website and complete the online Authorize a Vendor Form, which authorizes the Data Center to accept ICH CAHPS Survey data from your contracted ICH CAHPS Survey vendor.
  6. Check the ICH CAHPS website regularly for news and updates about the ICH CAHPS Survey and participation requirements.

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