CMS seeks comments on patient experience data

To drive the collection and availability of performance data on the fledgling Physician Compare consumer website, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is seeking provider feedback about the use of patient experience measures.

In a request for comment scheduled for publication in the Dec. 7 Federal Register, CMS invites physicians to share their thoughts on the pros and cons of collecting such data.

CMS is required by the healthcare reform law to develop and implement a plan for publicly reporting physician performance data by Jan. 1, 2013. One of the provisions of the reform law mandates the inclusion of patient experience data on the CMS' Physician Compare website.

According to the request for comment, the Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems survey for Physician Quality Reporting, a tool used to gauge patient experience in physician practices, "will fulfill this requirement."

Physician Compare's predecessor, Hospital Compare, included metrics of patient experience such as patient-reported impressions of pain management, communication with nurses and hospital cleanliness using data from the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems survey. Physician Compare will be populated by much of the data from CMS' Physician Quality Reporting System, a voluntary program launched in 2007 that provides physicians with incentive payments for reporting performance data.