The Best Solution for Measuring ACO Performance

The CAHPS® for ACOs Survey is one of the quality measures Medicare Accountable Care Organizations participating in a CMS quality initiative are required to submit to CMS on an annual basis.  As a CMS-approved vendor for the CAHPS for ACOs Survey, SPH Analytics understands the importance of your CAHPS for ACO survey outcomes for:

  • Satisfying quality performance standards
  • Representing 25% of your CMS quality performance score
  • Contributing to the CMS shared savings and value-based payment adjustment
  • Public reporting on the CMS Physician Compare Website

For decades SPH has worked with CMS and healthcare organizations across the nation to support their CAHPS survey administration and reporting needs. SPH clients receive exceptional customer service, guidance, and updates throughout the survey process.

The CAHPS Survey for ACOs

The CAHPS Survey for ACOs is a standardized survey program designed to measure patient experience of care for ACOs participating in the Medicare Shared Savings Program and Next Generation ACO Model.

This survey is conducted for ACOs by CMS-approved survey vendors and is intended to:

  • Produce comparable data on the patient’s perspective that allows objective and meaningful comparisons between ACO CAHPS®groups on areas that are important to consumers.
  • Provide public reporting of survey results that will create incentives for providers to improve their quality of care.
  • Enhance public accountability in health care by increasing the transparency of the quality of care provided in return for public investment

The CAHPS for ACOs survey is based on the Clinician and Group (CG CAHPS) Survey and includes additional questions specific to the goals of the ACO model. CMS has developed two versions (ACO-9 and ACO-12) of the survey. Both versions include the following nine domain areas:

  1. Getting Timely Care, Appointments, & Information
  2. How Well Providers Communicate
  3. Patient’s Rating of Provider
  4. Access to Specialists
  5. Health Promotion and Education
  6. Shared Decision Making
  7. Health Status & Functional Status
  8. Courteous & Helpful Office Staff
  9. Stewardship of Patient Resources

The CAHPS for ACO-12 Survey includes three additional domain areas:

  1. Care Coordination
  2. Between Visit Communication
  3. Helping you Take Medications as Directed

Expertise, Dependability, and Security

SPH Analytics is a CMS-approved CAHPS for Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) Survey vendor.  SPH has:

  • conducted CAHPS surveys since the late 1990s and ACO CAHPS surveys since the program’s inception in 2013
  • a perfect CAHPS submissions record to CMS
  • HITRUST and SOC 2 certification – the highest industry standards for information security
  • in-house call and mail centers, providing a seamless and coordinated approach to data collection
  • responsive, flexible, precise project management and customer service from the first day and continuing throughout the submission period

High Response Rates

SPH typically achieves higher response rates than industry norms (43% on average in 2019), ensuring that your survey results are truly representative of your patient population.  Our 35+ years’ experience in market research ensures your survey will be administered with best practices, such as:

  • utilizing in-house, experienced graphic designers to produce an attractive survey packet, with a professional layout and easy-to-read text on high quality paper
  • conducting prompt and precise in-house phone-based follow-up to non-respondents

Benchmarking & Actionable Reporting

SPH offers one of the largest benchmarks in the industry for the CAHPS for ACOs survey with more than 100 ACO participants, providing timely comparisons to other ACOs across the country and enabling you to use your results for quality improvement purposes long before the release of CMS data.  And your results are accessible 24/7 via the SPH web-based portal.

Our reporting provides actionable recommendations for improvement including:

  • Key Driver Analysis – SPH’s POWeR Chart 
  • Voice of Patient – genuine input from real
    patients on their perceptions and how to
    address specific problems

POWeR™ Chart

The POWeR Chart shows you which items are of lesser importance to patients (left of chart) and which are of higher importance (right of chart).  The upper and lower levels of the chart show how you are performing relative to the competition in those areas.  Your biggest opportunities to improve and impact your scores is the bottom right quadrant.

Power Chart


HPE health Promotion and Education
Q06 Patient got appointment for urgent care as soon as needed
Q08 Patient got appointment for routine care as soon as needed
Q10 Patient got answer to medical question the same day he/she phoned provider’s office
Q12 Patient got answer to medical question the same day he/she phoned provider’s office after hours
Q15 Patient saw provider within 15 minutes of appointment time
Q16 Provider explained things in a way that was easy to understand
Q17 Provider listened carefully to patient
Q19 Provider gave easy to understand information about health questions or concerns
Q20 Provider knew important information about patient’s medical history
Q21 Provider had patient’s medical records during office visit
Q22 Provider showed respect for what patient had to say
Q23 Provider spent enough time with patient
Q25 Provider’s office followed up with results for blood test, x-ray or other tests
Q25 Provider’s office followed up with results for blood test, x-ray or other tests
Q31 Provider gave patient easy to understand sntructions about how to take medicines
Q42 Clerks and receptionists at provider’s office treated patient with courtesy and respect
Q43 Clerks and receptionists at provider’s office treated patient with courtesy and respect
Q46 It was easy to get appointments with specialists
Q47 Specialist knew important information about patient’s medical history
Q53 Health care team talked with patient about all the prescription medicines he/she was taking
SDM shared Decision Making

CAHPS® is a registered trademark of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ).

1The CMS CAHPS for ACO final results reporting includes weighting and patient mix adjustment factors which are calculated onto the data submitted by SPH Analytics. Therefore, CMS and SPH final results data will differ.

Partner with SPH Analytics for your full-service CAHPS for ACOs Survey solution.

For more than three decades, SPH Analytics has helped healthcare organizations improve the experience and engagement of their patients and members. Let us bring our unique expertise and analytical and predictive approach to your organization’s challenges.

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