NQF endorses SQA’s Patient-Focused Care Survey

The National Quality Forum (NQF) issued its endorsement of the Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (CAHPS®) Surgical Care Survey on June 1. The American College of Surgeons (ACS) led the effort to develop the survey, working in partnership with other members of the Surgical Quality Alliance (SQA) and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality’s (AHRQ) CAHPS Consortium.

The survey will assess surgical patients’ experiences before, during, and after surgical procedures to adequately identify opportunities to improve quality of care, surgical outcomes, public reporting, and patient satisfaction. It will capture patients’ thoughts on several factors that affect the patient care experience, including how well their surgeons prepared them for their operations, communicated, and explained the recovery process. Responses will help surgeons deliver more patient-centric care by identifying areas for practice improvement. The CAHPS Surgical Care Survey is the only NQF-endorsed measure designed to assess surgical quality from the patient’s perspective.

“Paramount to ACS is assessing surgical care based on what is important to the patient,” said Frank Opelka, MD, FACS, Associate Medical Director, ACS Division of Advocacy and Health Policy. “This surgical care survey is unique. It is the only NQF-endorsed measure designed to assess surgical quality from the patient’s perspective. Its development shows the College’s strong commitment to actively partner with organizations focused on improving the patient experience and to developing high levels of quality improvement guidance.”

Critical gaps in the assessment of surgical care from the patient perspective initiated the development of the CAHPS Surgical Care Survey. Preceding its development, proponents opined that critical surgical areas, such as consent, shared decision making, anesthesia care, postoperative instructions, and access were absent among previous evidence-based, validated surveys in the public domain.

The development of the survey followed AHRQ’s standardized and evidence-based methods that are used in the creation of all CAHPS surveys. The NQF endorses quality measures through scientific and evidence-based review and a multi-stakeholder consensus development process with the aim of improving quality of care. Measures that are endorsed must meet NQF’s criteria, which include a rigorous review of the measure’s ability to make significant gains in health care quality, scientific acceptability, usability, feasibility, and reliability.

The surgical care survey is one of nine new quality measures on surgical care performed in hospitals and in outpatient facilities that recently received NQF endorsement. The set of measures are part of NQF’s Surgery Endorsement Maintenance, Phase 2 Addendum report.

For more details and information about other organizations involved in development of the survey, go to http://www.facs.org/news/2012/surgical-survey0612.html.

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