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CAHPS Star Ratings and Customer Experience

If you are in healthcare, you know of the changes in the CMS star rating formulas. These changes, presented in their Contract Year 2021 Policy, are bringing customer experience squarely to the forefront of priorities for healthcare.


If your practice is measured by the Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (CAHPS), that survey now adds an even greater emphasis on customer experience in your star ratings. The time has never been more urgent to have a strong strategy in place and begin making changes in your patient experience.


And with the two year lag in star ratings, having a strategy and plan to implement and measure changes and improvements in the patient experience now is going to be critical to moving the needle.


What Has Changed With CAHPS Ratings?


In 2020, CMS doubled the CAHPS survey questions’ impact on your 2022 star ratings. This means that the things you were surveyed on last year will become your 2022 star ratings.


This year, in 2021, they QUADRUPLED their impact, which will now be affecting your 2023 star ratings. So if you’re a hospital, ER, healthplan, etc., your CAHPS surveys will have an impact of as much as 30-40% on your star ratings, beginning this year.


Seeing that the CAHPS surveys have a much broader body of questions focusing around customer service and customer experience, these will become the new standard for how medical entities everywhere are rated on their excellence.


But even if you are a rural health clinic or other entity that is not being rated, this is something you should still keep in mind, because patients expect a good experience and their decision making is strongly influenced by their experience in your clinic or hospital. So don’t disregard customer experience just because it’s not being officially evaluated at your facility. You will regret it – trust us.

What Can You Do To Improve Patient Experience?


If you’re currently working on developing a Patient or Customer Experience program for your healthcare business, you need to ask yourself these 4 key questions:

  1. Can your patient get an appointment easily when they need it? Whether it’s through your website, over the phone or in-person, is the process easy to navigate and understand for the patient?

  2. Are you communicating overall in a way that resonates with them? Can they understand your messaging and the information that you put out there on your website, social media and other marketing materials? Do they have access to all the information they need to make a decision?

  3. Are you actively listening and expressing empathy and compassion to your patients? Providing them with quality care that they can feel safe receiving? Or are you rushing through the appointments just to get to the next patient?

  4. Lastly, how’s the overall service and culture in your organization? Do you and your team treat your patients with respect and empathy at every touch point? Is your focus first on the patient well being and not on the numbers?

Where BossLady Consulting Comes In


With 20 years of experience in healthcare and a deep passion about patient and customer experience, employee engagement and brand and culture, we’re ready to help you improve retention, stop patient churn, grow your volume and revenue – all while developing a system and culture in your organization that makes the employees, members, patients and providers love being a part of it.


If you have any questions, or would like to discuss your facility or team needs, we’d love to connect! You can pick a time that works best for you here: Let’s Talk Patient Experience.