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Importance: Clinician compassion is a vital element of health care quality. Currently, there appears to be no validated and feasible method for health care organizations to measure patient assessment of clinician compassion on a large scale. Objective: To develop and validate a tool for measuring patient assessment of clinician compassion that can be used in conjunction with the Clinician and Group Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (CG-CAHPS) survey. Design, Setting, and Participants: This prospective cohort study took place from June 1 to August 30, 2018, at a US academic health care system among a pilot cohort consisting of 3325 adult patients and a validation cohort consisting of 3483 adult patients, both of whom had an outpatient clinic visit and completed the CG-CAHPS survey. Main Outcomes and Measurements: After a comprehensive literature review, 12 candidate survey items were developed. Face and construct validity were performed. Candidate items were disseminated to patients in conjunction with the CG-CAHPS survey in a series of 2 studies: (1) exploratory factor analysis in one cohort to determine the factor structure and the most parsimonious set of items; and (2) validity testing in a second cohort using confirmatory factor analysis. Reliability was tested using Cronbach α. Convergent validity was tested with patient assessment of clinician communication and overall satisfaction questions from CG-CAHPS survey. Results: Overall, 6493 patient responses were analyzed. The mean (SD) age was 60 (15) years, 4239 patients (65.3%) were women, and 5079 (78.2%) were white. Exploratory factor analyses identified a 5-item compassion measure to be the most parsimonious. Confirmatory factor analyses found good fit. The compassion measure demonstrated good internal consistency (α = 0.94) and convergent validity (clinician communication: ρ = 0.44; overall satisfaction: ρ = 0.52) but reflected a patient experience domain (compassionate care) distinct from what is currently captured in the CG-CAHPS survey. Conclusions and Relevance: A simple 5-item tool to measure patient assessment of clinician compassion was developed and validated for use in conjunction with CG-CAHPS survey.

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JAMA Network Open






This article was published in JAMA Network Open, Volume 2, Issue 5.

The published version is available at

Copyright © 2019 Roberts BW et al. CC-BY 4.0.