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The effect of different sampling and recall periods in the CAHPS Clinician & Group (CG-CAHPS) survey

Objective: To examine the effect of changing the sampling and reference periods for the CAHPS® Clinician & Group Survey from 12 to 6 months.

Data Sources/Study Setting: Adult patients with a visit in the last 12 months to New England community health centers.

Study Design: We randomly assigned patients to receive a survey with either a 12 or 6month recall period.

Data Collection/Extraction Methods: Questionnaires were mailed to patients, with a second questionnaire mailed to nonrespondents, followed by six attempts to complete a telephone interview.

Principal Findings: If the sampling criterion was a visit in the last 6 months, 9 percent of those with a visit in the last 12 months would not have been surveyed. A total of 1837 patients completed 6month surveys (44.9 percent response rate); 588 completed 12month surveys (46.0 percent response rate). Shortening the reference from 12 to 6 months reduced the proportion of respondents reporting a blood test, Xray, or other tests. Adjusting for respondent characteristics, the most positive response was selected more often on the 6month survey for 12 out of 13 questions, and three of these differences were statistically significant (P < 0.05).

Conclusions: Surveys using a 6month recall period may yield slightly higher scores than surveys with a 12month recall period.

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