Getty Images/iStockphoto

Assessing the Market for Patient Experience Surveying

Industry mainstay Press Ganey is still a leader for CAHPS surveying, but as more organizations begin to do real-time patient experience surveys other market leaders emerge.

Press Ganey is still a leading vendor for CAHPS and patient experience surveying, according to a new KLAS Segment Insights Report.

But as the healthcare industry begins to embrace real-time patient experience surveying, other vendors like Qualtrics are starting to emerge, as well.

Patient experience surveying has long been a key part of clinical quality measurement. CAHPS surveys, or Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems surveys, have traditionally been the formal method for measuring patient experience and satisfaction, with many value-based care programs using the tool as part of their quality assessments.

According to the KLAS report, Press Ganey continues to be the market leader for CAHPS surveys, with 16 of its customers telling KLAS they use Press Ganey for CAHPS benchmarking. NRC Health likewise shows strength in CAHPS benchmarking, with 12 of its customers telling KLAS they use it for such.

Press Ganey received an overall performance score of 91.1 out of 100, compared to NRC Health’s 85.3. SPH Analytics, a Press Ganey company which is used on the member experience side of healthcare, received a 92.2.

Fewer customers use either Press Ganey or NRC Health for individualized patient experience surveying only. The report does not indicate how many customers use either vendor for both CAHPS benchmarking and individualized surveying in tandem.

However, Qualtrics, which is leveraged in other industries outside of healthcare, is proving a prominent source for individualized patient experience surveying only, with 12 of its customers telling KLAS they use it for such. Qualtrics is less popular for CAHPS benchmarking, the report noted.

Qualtrics received an overall performance score of 88.1 out of 100.

The report also identified Feedtrail and Quality Reviews as making a dent in the individualized patient experience surveying market, although KLAS did indicate it had limited data on those vendors.

The report did not indicate a preference for CAHPS benchmarking or individualized patient experience surveying; rather, it showed that many organizations are doing both. For example, 16 Press Ganey customers are using the tool for CAHPS benchmarking, but 13 of them also said they are doing individualized patient experience surveying. KLAS did not indicate which vendor Press Ganey's CAHPS customers used for individualized surveying.

Similarly, most of those using Qualtrics for individualized patient experience surveying are also doing CAHPS benchmarking.

This indicates a growing need for more agile or real-time patient experience insights, the report noted. Traditionally, CAHPS surveying happens after a patient has left a healthcare facility, giving the organization a retrospective look at the patient experience. These individualized surveys give a more real-time look at patient sentiment, which allows organizations to be more responsive to patient needs.

KLAS said the emergence of Qualtrics, Feedtrail, and Quality Reviews indicates a growing need for those more real-time insights.

Comparing individualized surveying vendors

Qualtrics has come out as one of the leading individualized patient experience surveying vendors, the report noted, with customers saying the vendor’s cross-industry expertise is a strength.

Qualtrics can alert staff when action is needed, offers guidance to customers, and has fair pricing that avoids unexpected charges, customers said. Additionally, Qualtrics is the only individualized surveying system that also offers CAHPS benchmarking, although few customers are using it for both.

Some Qualtrics customers did indicate the vendor is “spread too thin” and often outsource implementation to reportedly subpart third parties.

KLAS noted that many Feedtrail customers are pleased with the vendor’s ability to notify providers of poor patient feedback, which they say helps them reach out to the patient with the patient’s permission. This is a key best practice for patient experience and reputation management.

However, the vendor’s newness means a less robust system and bumpy implementation, customers told KLAS. Customers said they are confident Feedtrail will improve as it ages into the market.

Finally, KLAS found that Quality Reviews customers were likewise satisfied with the vendor’s service recovery features, as well as its responsiveness to customer issues. Quality Reviews is also easy for patients to use, customers said. However, customers also noted challenges with data display, saying the system does not always meet their unique needs.

Assessing CAHPS benchmarking tools

Across mainstay market players, Press Ganey appears on the top of CAHPS benchmarking tools, although customers of NRC Health also report satisfaction.

Press Ganey enjoys a larger customer base who say the vendor offers up guidance to help shape the patient experience. Customers also reported satisfaction with Press Ganey dashboards and natural language processing systems that help parse through qualitative data and comments.

Customers did say they wish the system could be more customizable and could turn around survey results more quickly. They also told KLAS that reporting could be “cumbersome and unintuitive.” Customers did express optimism about a new platform.

Meanwhile, NRC Health customers said implementation was easy, the pricing is competitive, and the vendor is responsive. NRC Health also has NLP solutions that help customers parse through qualitative data and comments, KLAS reported. However, NRC Health customers would like to see the vendor be more proactive in soliciting user feedback.

In addition to NRC Health and Press Ganey, KLAS collected information about SPH Analytics, which is a Press Ganey product. SPH Analytics collects CAHPS information from health plan members.

Although customer satisfaction is somewhat high, users told KLAS SPH Analytics is limited in how it reports data, not allowing for member-level insights. The vendor’s CAHPS surveys are also very standardized, limiting customization options.

Benefits of patient experience surveying

Customers are primarily valuing patient experience surveying because the data gleaned helps them make better choices about patient satisfaction efforts, KLAS reported.

“Across vendors, the most commonly reported outcomes include improved visibility into the patient experience and greater clarity on where to focus improvement efforts,” KLAS wrote in the report. “Customers of Qualtrics, Feedtrail, and Quality Reviews are the most likely to report these outcomes.”

That could be because patient experience data is reported in real time, allowing organizations to remedy issues in the moment rather than retrospectively. Although CAHPS benchmarking is still essential to fulfilling many value-based care contracts, the individualized surveying may end up being more fruitful to clinical quality improvement.

Correction 12/03/2021: A previous version of this article suggested customers using Press Ganey's solutions for CAHPS benchmarking were not using the vendor's individualized surveying tools. This article has been reflected to show that KLAS did not indicate which vendor those customers used for individualized surveying tools. It has also been updated to reiterate the fact that customers were providing feedback on the SPH Analytics CAHPS survey products.

Next Steps

Dig Deeper on Patient satisfaction and experience

xtelligent Health IT and EHR