Leapfrog Group Series ‘Patient Experience During the Pandemic’ Indicates More Favorable Experiences for Outpatient Surgery at ASCs Than Hospital Outpatient Departments

April 7, 2022

Part 1 of New Series Now Available. More Transparency Needed to Confirm This Distinction.

WASHINGTON DC—The Leapfrog Group, a national watchdog organization of employers and other purchasers focused on health care safety and quality, today released its Outpatient Surgical Care report, the first report in a new three-part series, Patient Experience During the Pandemic. The report echoes Leapfrog’s previous findings that patients report more favorable experiences at ambulatory surgery centers (ASCs) than hospital outpatient departments (HOPDs). The findings also hint at pandemic-related lapses in patient safety, providing further evidence to national analyses that care has been negatively impacted due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Leapfrog report covers patient experience in HOPDs and ASCs during a pre-pandemic (2019) and mid-pandemic (July 2020 to June 2021) timeframe, as reported to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). Hospitals and ASCs gather the data from their patients through a questionnaire called the Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems Outpatient and Ambulatory Surgery Survey (OAS CAHPS). Though CMS makes findings available in database form for researchers, they are not easily accessed by consumers. Furthermore, because reporting of OAS CAHPS data is not mandated, results are only available for those facilities that voluntarily conduct these surveys and report the results.

Key findings include:

  • ASCs were rated significantly higher by their patients than patients of HOPDs during the mid-pandemic timeframe. This finding applied across every patient experience domain, most notably in their willingness to recommend a facility and overall facility rating.
  • In both ASC and HOPD settings, there was a decline during the pandemic in favorable patient ratings for communications about their procedures, a crucial component of patient safety. Other domains of patient experience remained relatively stable.

“Unfortunately, the findings of this report are not reassuring about patient safety for outpatient surgery during the pandemic, though the data is not definitive yet,” said Leah Binder, president and CEO of The Leapfrog Group. “Patients seem to report more positively about experience with ASCs than hospitals, but because only a subset of outpatient facilities made their data public, we don’t know if we have a truly representative sample. Purchasers of health benefits and the American public deserve more data than this. In the meantime, people should focus on the facilities that report to Leapfrog and CMS because transparency is the indispensable foundation of quality care.”

Over 60% of all surgeries are performed either in a HOPD or ASC, and in most cases, patients have the opportunity to research same-day surgery facilities in advance of their procedure. Leapfrog publicly reports patient experience at outpatient surgical care in a format accessible to consumers and other stakeholders. To learn more about the report, register for Leapfrog’s free webinar, moderated by Leah Binder and featuring Leapfrog ASC Advisory Committee members Carole Guinane, RN, MBA, FNAHQ, CPHQ, BBSS and Stephanie Jaross BSN, RN and Leapfrog leadership on Monday, April 11 at 1 p.m. EDT.  

About Patient Experience During the Pandemic

Stay tuned for the next two reports in Leapfrog’s series, Patient Experience During the Pandemic. Part Two: Adult Inpatient Care will be released in early May, and Part Three: Pediatric Care will be published at the end of May. Sign up for our newsletter to receive an alert when the new reports are available.


About The Leapfrog Group
Founded in 2000 by large employers and other purchasers, The Leapfrog Group is a national nonprofit organization driving a movement for giant leaps forward for patient safety. The flagship Leapfrog Hospital Survey and new Leapfrog Ambulatory Surgery Center (ASC) Survey collect and transparently report hospital and ASC performance, empowering purchasers to find the highest-value care and giving consumers the lifesaving information they need to make informed decisions. The Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade, Leapfrog's other main initiative, assigns letter grades to hospitals based on their record of patient safety, helping consumers protect themselves and their families from errors, injuries, accidents, and infections. For more, follow us on Twitter and Facebook, and sign up for our newsletter.

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