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Developing a Spanish-language Consumer Report for CAHPS® Health Plan Surveys

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Background: A Spanish-language consumer report on health plan quality was developed for the Consumer Assessments of Healthcare Providers and Systems (CAHPS®) project.

Methods: Multiple translations, a committee review, and a readability assessment were performed to produce a draft Spanish report. The report was revised on the basis of a series of cognitive interviews with 24 Latinos.

Results: The median age of participants was 41 years, and the median number of years in the United States was 9; 67% were female, and 63% had less than a high school education. In general, participants understood the report and said they would use it to choose a health plan. Less-educated respondents had difficulty understanding the segmented bar graphs that showed the proportion of health plan members' responses. A summary chart comparing all health plans on all dimensions was easier to comprehend when differences were represented by word icons rather than by stars.

Discussion: Concepts and terms about health care quality translated well from English to Spanish. Simplifying graphical information involves losing some detail but makes information more usable. Summary charts facilitate comparisons across plans, but differences relative to a mean are difficult for both Spanish- and English-speaking consumers to understand.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: November 1, 2007

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  • Published monthly, The Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety is a peer-reviewed publication dedicated to providing health professionals with the information they need to promote the quality and safety of health care. The Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety invites original manuscripts on the development, adaptation, and/or implementation of innovative thinking, strategies, and practices in improving quality and safety in health care. Case studies, program or project reports, reports of new methodologies or new applications of methodologies, research studies on the effectiveness of improvement interventions, and commentaries on issues and practices are all considered.

    David W. Baker, MD, MPH, FACP, executive vice president for the Division of Healthcare Quality Evaluation at The Joint Commission, is the inaugural editor-in-chief of The Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety.

    Also known as Joint Commission Journal on Quality Improvement and Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Safety
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