The intent of the HCAHPS (Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems) initiative is to provide a standardized survey instrument and data collection methodology for measuring patients' perspectives on hospital care. While many hospitals have collected information on patient satisfaction, prior to HCAHPS there was no national standard for collecting or publicly reporting patients' perspectives of care information that would enable valid comparisons to be made across all hospitals.
In order to make "apples to apples" comparisons to support consumer choice, it was necessary to introduce a standard measurement approach: the HCAHPS survey, which is also known as the CAHPS® Hospital Survey, or Hospital CAHPS. HCAHPS is a core set of questions that can be combined with a broader, customized set of hospital-specific items. HCAHPS survey items complement the data hospitals currently collect to support improvements in internal customer services and quality related activities.