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Top 3 takeaways for CXOs from this week’s CMS final rule

I am thrilled with the inpatient final rule announced by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) on August 1. In this rule, I see the next generation of our patient experience measurement strategy come to life—and it’s exciting. I applaud CMS for advancing CAHPS surveys further by incorporating digital-first surveys, reducing patient effort, and prioritizing inclusivity.  

There are three primary aspects of the rule I’d like to highlight for you:

  1. Web-first surveys for HCAHPS will be available starting with January 2025 discharges.
  2. A streamlined survey instrument limited to 12 supplemental items will be implemented.
  3. More inclusive survey approaches will be approved, including preferred language requirements and allowing proxy respondents.

I’d also like to thank you. Your innovation has contributed to these new regulations. You embraced digital listening as part of your nonregulatory measurement strategy. You’ve advocated for new ways to use this technology, and the feedback from it, to serve your patients, community, and staff. And CMS has listened.

Experience-forward measurement strategies

The final rule reflects how the majority of today’s patients want to receive communications from their providers. Increasingly, digital surveys rule. Over 90% of patient surveys deployed by Press Ganey today are sent digitally. That’s 1.7 million digital surveys sent every day! Digital surveys are more accessible, personal, and efficient—especially when paired with our leading Human Experience platform’s multichannel listening capabilities

With web-first modes approved starting with January 2025 discharges, we’ll continue to see more opportunities to increase our reach and build shorter, more flexible surveys.

The rule also acknowledges that language matters. Communicating with patients in their preferred language is essential to hearing every voice, and more deeply understanding the communities you serve.

The rule extends inclusivity beyond language. It also acknowledges that sometimes a patient can’t complete an HCAHPS survey on their own. They need an advocate or a guardian’s support to do so. And that feedback is essential as well to understanding care delivery and the patient experience of those who are severely impaired or impacted by their health condition.

Taken together, these evolved HCAHPS survey protocols will help us continue to reach deeper into our communities and more broadly gather feedback from all patients.

The next-generation strategy

This is just the beginning. And the next chapter in our work together is so exciting. Our team will continue to make sure these regulatory requirements are reflected in our solutions and services. What’s more, we’ll guide you as you adopt the best measurement strategies that align with the top three takeaways from the final rule. We bring the healthcare expertise plus technology you need to succeed as the industry continues to transform to better meet patient needs.  

To discuss this new rule, as well as its implications for your organization, reach out to a member of our team

About the author

Chrissy collaborates with teams across Press Ganey to design, develop, and deliver strategies to boost patient experience that are informed by over 400 million patient voices. Chrissy works closely with healthcare organizations nationwide as a strategic and operational partner. Chrissy brings over 30 years of expertise in advancing the patient experience and building an engaging and collaborative culture. Frequently called upon as a guest speaker, she is widely recognized for her pioneering work in healthcare consumerism and physician performance data transparency.

Profile Photo of Chrissy Daniels