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Departments & Programs,UW Health,Patient and Family Experience


Surveys - Departments & Programs, UW Health, Patient and Family Experience

To ensure our care is consistently patient-centered and to help us continually improve, we ask out patients about their experiences in a variety of ways. One way we solicit feedback is through patient experience surveys. Patients who visit our clinics receive surveys from Avatar, and patients who visit the Emergency Department or are inpatients at UWHC, AFCH, or TAC receive surveys from Press Ganey.


Patient experience surveys are administered in several areas across the organization. Some surveys are administered by an outside vendor while others are administered by our Patient Experience Analysis team. If you are looking to get survey results or have a discussion about finding ways to get patient feedback, please reach out to the Center for Patient and Family Experience at patientexperience@uwhealth.org.

Vendor Surveys


How can I access Patient Experience data and reports?

Numeric data can be found in Qlikview. For questions about Qlikview access and navigation, please email the Qlikview team at qlikview@uwhealth.org.

Individual ambulatory provider comment reports are emailed on a quarterly basis. Ambulatory and inpatient leadership comment reports are emailed on a monthly basis.

For custom reports and analysis that cannot be found in Qlikview (e.g. Emergency Department data), please email the Patient Experience Analysis team at patientexperience@uwhealth.org.

What is the response rate for surveying? (2015 response rates show below)

Note: The number of responses determines the precision of survey data or survey statistics, not the response rate.1

1 In other words, a sample of 30 patients could be enough to precisely estimate the preferences and perceptions of an actual patient population of 300, even though the response rate is only 10 percent. That is because response rate is not part of the calculation for margin of error (a measure of the precision of a sample estimate), and the relationship between the number of responses and the margin of error is nonlinear. Questions? Contact patientexperience@uwhealth.org.

How many of my patients receive a survey (sampling rate)?

Physician Office Clinics, Urgent Care, and Outpatient Behavioral Health: Sampling is a two-step process: First, a random sample of patients receives a mailed paper survey. Then, all remaining patients with email addresses on record receive an email survey.

Inpatient: All eligible discharged patients receive the survey. Patients not eligible to receive the survey include prisoners, deceased patients, and patients discharged from the psychiatry unit.

Pediatric Inpatient: All eligible pediatric patients are sent a survey.

Emergency Department: First, a random sample of patients receives a mailed paper survey. Then, all remaining patients with email addresses on record receive an email survey.

How do we account for non-response bias, i.e. patients who respond to the survey could differ in meaningful ways from patients who don’t respond?

There are two main ways to address non-response bias. First, random sampling ensures that each patient has the same chance of receiving a survey, and helps produce a representative sample that reflects the actual patient population. We can compare characteristics and demographics of the survey sample to the available patient population to evaluate whether the sample is representative. Second, higher response rates can reduce the likelihood for non-response bias, so we also continually look for opportunities to improve response rates (e.g. changes in survey design and administration).

What is Top Box and why are we using it instead of mean scores?

Top Box represents the percent of patients who chose the highest possible survey rating. Top Box is used because it is now the standard in publicly reported healthcare data. Top Box also allows more differentiation among high performers. The difference between the highest rating--the “Top Box”--and the second highest rating is the difference between an active promoter and a passive consumer.

What type of Benchmarking is available for Patient Experience data?

Internal Benchmarking: We can compare data for providers, clinics, units, and departments internally.
External Benchmarking: We have access to external benchmarking from our survey vendors at the organization level, including relevant peer groups (e.g. academic medical centers). Benchmarking is also available for most specialties.

How do I know if this survey tool is valid?

Our vendor, Press Ganey, has been endorsed by University Health Systems Consortium. The survey tools are based on extensive research and psychometric testing, including focus groups and cognitive testing with patients to test the readability, comprehension, and response to survey questions and scales. The surveys surpass all traditional reliability and validity standards, including internal consistency, test-retest reliability, content, and construct validity. In addition, the Patient Experience Analysis team is well-versed in survey design and research, and is available for consultation on any survey efforts outside of Press Ganey.

How often can a patient receive a survey from UW Health?

For each of our surveys (Inpatient Adult, Inpatient Pediatric, ED, Outpatient Clinic, or Urgent Care), eligible patients can receive up to one survey every 90 days. If a patient used more than one of our service areas within those 90 days, it is possible that they could receive more than one survey.

What are CAHPS surveys?

CAHPS stands for Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (CAHPS), and refers to a group of standardized patient experience surveys developed by the U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ). The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) implements several CAHPS surveys, including the Hospital Survey (HCAHPS). In addition, several organizations and programs (e.g. ACO, ABMS MOC, NCQA, PQRS, WCHQ) accept CAHPS results as part of public reporting, certification, or other regulatory requirements. At UW Health, we use the Hospital survey (H-CAHPS), the Home Health survey (HH-CAHPS), and the annual ACO Clinician and Group survey (ACO CG-CAHPS).

If my patients are not currently being surveyed by a vendor, how can I collect feedback?

Contact the Patient Experience Analysis team at patientexperience@uwhealth.org. The PEA team is experienced in collecting patient feedback in a variety of ways, from surveys to observation to interviews. They will meet with you to learn more about your patient population and determine the best route for gathering feedback.