American College Of Surgeons - Inspiring Quality: Highest Standards, Better Outcomes

National Quality Forum Endorses Patient-Focused Surgical Survey


American College of Surgeons led efforts to develop  the new patient-centric survey that focuses on improving the surgical patient experience

WASHINGTON, DC (June 4, 2012): The National Quality Forum’s (NQF) endorsement of a Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (CAHPS®) Surgical Care Survey measure became effective Friday, June 1, 2012. Today the American College of Surgeons issued comments about this new NQF endorsement.

“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.”

The American College of Surgeons, in partnership with other surgical and anesthesia organizations and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality’s (AHRQ) CAHPS® Consortium, developed the survey to 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.

According to the National Quality Forum, survey data will capture patients’ thoughts on several patient experience issues, including how well they were prepared for their operations, how well they believed the surgeons communicated, and what information they were given to help them recover from their procedures.

Their responses will help surgeons better understand and ultimately improve patient care and experience by identifying areas for practice improvement. The decision to use a standardized survey is critical in comparing individual practice against benchmarks. Valid comparability makes the information useful for quality improvement as well as public reporting purposes.

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 previously 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.

The acronym "CAHPS" is a registered trademark of AHRQ. CAHPS® and other surveys are funded and administered through AHRQ, which works closely with a consortium of private and public organizations to conceive, develop, test, and refine CAHPS survey products.

The following surgical and anesthesia societies participated in the development of the project.

American Academy of Ophthalmology
American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery
American College of Osteopathic Surgeons
American College of Surgeons
American Society of Anesthesiologists
American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery
American Society of Colon & Rectal Surgery
American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery
American Society of Plastic Surgeons
American Urological Association
Society of Gynecologic Oncology
Society for Vascular Surgery
The Society of Thoracic Surgeons

For more information on the nine newly endorsed NQF surgical measures, visit:

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About the American College of Surgeons
The American College of Surgeons is a scientific and educational organization of surgeons that was founded in 1913 to raise the standards of surgical practice and improve the quality of care for all surgical patients. The College is dedicated to the ethical and competent practice of surgery. Its achievements have significantly influenced the course of scientific surgery in America and have established it as an important advocate for all surgical patients. The College has more than 79,000 members and is the largest organization of surgeons in the world. For more information, visit


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