If you are looking to choose a CAHPS® for ACOs survey vendor, your healthcare organization has until September 22nd, 2014 to do so. Recently, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services granted full approval to 16 CAHPS for ACOs survey vendors across the country in which Research & Marketing Strategies (RMS) is named. If you have any questions about the CAHPS® for ACOs process, selection of vendors, and how this new initiative impacts your accountable care organization, please contact our Business Development Associate, Marc Bovenzi at MarcB@RMSresults.com.

ACO CAHPS survey vendor

The goal of an ACO and coordinated care is to ensure that patients, especially the chronically ill, get the right care at the right time, while avoiding unnecessary duplication of services and preventing medical errors (Via CMS.gov)

What are the important dates for CAHPS® for ACOs?

  • August 25, 2014 – CMS granted full approval to RMS and 15 other vendors for the CAHPS® for ACOs survey
  • September 22, 2014 – Deadline for ACOs to register with an approved CAHPS® for ACOs survey vendor
  • November 13 through February 2, 2015 – Survey administration period
  • 2016 – Official results reported by CMS to ACOs

What does the CAHPS® for ACOs process look like?

  • CMS selects a random sample of 860 patients
  • The survey is 81 questions in length
  • 12 patient experience of care measures
  • Mixed-mode only (mail and phone)
  • Pre-notification letter will be sent
  • Two survey mailings
  • Up to 6 follow-up calls to complete survey

What are the topics of the CAHPS® for ACOs surveys?

  • Getting timely care
  • Provider communication
  • Rating of provider
  • Access to specialists
  • Health promotion and education
  • Shared decision-making
  • Health status and functional status
  • Courteous and helpful office staff
  • Care coordination
  • Between visit communication
  • Education of medication adherence
  • Stewardship of patient resources

What other complimentary healthcare services does RMS offer for ACOs?

  • Patient-Centered Medical Home Recognition (PCMH)
  • Pay for Performance (P4P) Program Optimization
  • Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA)
  • HIPAA Compliance Training
  • Practice Assessment and Management
  • Patient Satisfaction Surveys (CAHPS®)

Research & Marketing Strategies (RMS) is a healthcare market research firm and approved CAHPS® survey vendor. Our corporate offices are located in Syracuse, NY but our healthcare clients span as far as Guam. For more information about RMS Healthcare visit our website by clicking here. For more information about CAHPS® on this blog, click here.

As I approached the summer before my senior year at Oswego State, I received an opportunity to intern at Research & Marketing Strategies, Inc. (RMS). At Oswego State I am working towards a degree in public relations with a minor in business administration. As the ViewPoint panel coordinator at RMS, I am able to blend my passions for public relations and marketing.

Common reactions to starting a career in market research.

Common reactions to starting a career in market research.

Here are 5 things I’ve learned about a career in market research in 3 short months:

  • (1) The importance of networking – Market research is a powerful industry because it provides businesses with the intelligence needed to adapt to the ever-changing consumer. However, some professionals are weary to conduct market research due to cost, fear of negative results, length of time to complete, etc. To overcome these barriers, RMS works hard to build a base of educational materials for clients through social networking and having a presence at local and industry events. Strong networking skills are invaluable in this industry. There is always a methodology that will work for a business to overcome any barrier and market research can be done well, fast, and inexpensively.
  • (2) How to code open-ended questions – I have learned how to code open-ended questions in college, but that experience fails in comparison to coding open-ended questions for a full scale market research study. Market research professionals read every survey response, and create categories suitable for all responses. Want to learn more about coding? Click here. The researcher will then determine themes and recommendations based on the responses. So believe it or not, your well-thought out responses that you answer on an online or mobile survey are actually read by a real human being! (Me, in many cases at RMS!)
  • (3) How to blog – Another valuable skill in this industry is blogging.  It’s an effective tool used to fore-show potential clients what services the firm is capable of providing. We recommend using images, tags, hyperlinks, and a searchable title in order to blog effectively. Creating fresh content and SEO-friendly material for market research is a goal of mine here at RMS.
  • (4) There is room for creativity – On the surface, the market research industry seems very structured, data-oriented, and rigid. However this is not the case, creativity can be used during all steps of the research process. Customizing surveys, creating word clouds from coded responses, and creating PowerPoint presentation templates for reports are examples of creative outlets for market researchers.
  • (5) Quadruple check – It’s easy to overlook confusing language or mistakes when you have been working on a document for a long time. When checking a document, ensure that you look at the bigger picture. For example, after creating a questionnaire, envision how a respondent would comprehend the question (without having a background in market research). Additionally, have a coworker in a different department review the questionnaire. They are more likely to notice mistakes that you may unknowingly repeat.

The ViewPoint panel coordinator position is perfect for me because it marries my passion for public relations and marketing. It has been great to apply what I have learned at Oswego State while learning additional skills that can’t be learned in the classroom. Research & Marketing Strategies (RMS) is a market research firm located in Syracuse, NY. If you are interested in learning more about RMS, contact our Director of Business Development Sandy Baker at SandyB@RMSresults.com or by calling 1-866-567-5422.


When budgets get tight and businesses need to get answers fast, many will immediately jump to a survey or other form of quantitative design. Decision-makers just don’t have the time to wait for a lengthy process of in-depth interviews (IDIs), focus groups, or shop-alongs. The trade-off of a lengthier and more in-depth study does not outweigh the need to have data quickly, but like anything in business, more preparation and more attention put to the beginning of a process will almost always pay huge dividends at the end.

Qualitative vs. Quantitative

Quantitative vs. Qualitative is the classic left vs. right brain clash. But instead of picking a side in research, why not use both?

Enter Qualitative Research or the prototypical right side of your brain. Qualitative research often gets a bad rap for being creative-heavy and scientific-light. Therefore it goes over-looked and is viewed as too expensive for its return. Although it is often cut out of the research design in order to jump right into a survey (face it, a new hotel isn’t going to be approved for financing based on two focus groups of 6 people each), using exploratory methodologies before measuring reaps many rewards for the research team and the client. To use a baseball analogy, qualitative research is the really good set up reliever out of the bullpen that gives the flashy closer a chance to earn a save. If you don’t have a good bullpen to set up your closer, you won’t even have a chance to earn a save and a win for your team.

What are the benefits to using qualitative research before quantitative research?

  • Qual provides an avenue to dig deeper and ask whyAs with any good exploratory research, this conversational methodology allows for additional communication between the researcher and the “researchee” (I just made that up). Simple answers can be probed on, examined, and underlying drivers and factors can often be uncovered through qualitative research. As an example, quantitative research would provide you with data stating your most recent laundry detergent purchase was Tide. Qualitative research would provide you with reasons behind your Tide purchase such as noticing laundry detergent on the end cap, comparing the cost of Tide to other detergents in-aisle, and remembering a television commercial talking about the new stain defender technology. Or you just really like the color orange, who knows? Whatever it may be, it will be uncovered using qual.
  • Qual provides an opportunity to be collectively exhaustive through response lists in a follow-up survey. By asking open-ended questions through qualitative research you’ll be able to identify common answer themes from respondents. As a survey writer you can then take those themes and compile the question into an aided response structure to limit the number of open-ends in a survey, which will take the respondent less time to complete and improve the survey experience. We’ve spoken about that here on the Bunker Blog.
  • Qual examines issues and strengths to further address in a quantitative forum. In some instances, when you go directly to quant you miss the opportunity to be exhaustive with your research efforts. Oftentimes, good research leads to more questions than answers. Believe it or not and as odd as that sounds, it often rings true. Your first research project is more of a starting point for answers than an end point. By jumping the gun directly to quant, it does not provide your team with the opportunity to re-address and uncover new ideas. For instance, if you launch a major survey and a reoccurring theme for dissatisfaction is customer service, there’s no going-back to dig deeper. In truth there’s always a way to go back but it’s not efficient or budget friendly. However, if you conducted qual first, you would have been able to uncover issues with customer satisfaction and included a series of questions in the survey to get more measurable ratings on specific aspects of that experience (waiting time, friendliness, knowledge, etc.).
  • Qual offers time to digest, reexamine, and refocus the research. Here at RMS, we use the “break” period between qualitative and quantitative research to refocus our efforts. I say “break” in quotations because that can last as little as a day (or less). What it does do however, is give the entire team an opportunity to reassess objectives for the quantitative study. Are we headed down the right path? Do we need to rethink next steps? Are we addressing the right content for the survey? Are there any new ideas we want to explore? This check-point allows time to digest all of this information.

With all of these benefits stated, in some instances it is still appropriate to cut out qualitative research and go directly to quantitative. In what instances is that true? A situation like a tracker study where the first wave of the survey has already been designed and you are looking to benchmark data, government standardized surveys where wording and answer choices cannot be customized, or situations where hard data is needed almost immediately with no wiggle room on budget or timeframe. If you know 100% of your clientele purchase your product solely because its color is orange, it may be appropriate to pass on qual, and even quant, or maybe even research in general.

Thanks for reading my post. To connect with me on LinkedIn click here or to follow me on Twitter click here. If you are interested in conducting a qualitative or quantitative research project with our firm contact our Business Development Director at Research & Marketing Strategies (RMS). Sandy Baker can be reached at SandyB@RMSresults.com or by calling 1-866-567-5422.

What does the healthcare industry have in common with the financial industry?

Answer: HIPAA policies

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) enacted in 1996 is no longer affecting just the healthcare industry and its business associates. In fact, many industries have started to adopt policies similar to HIPAA in order to keep consumer information secure.

According to Karen Buesing and Elizabeth Hodge of JD Supra Business Advisor, healthcare providers and business associates that store or process protected health information (PHI) face increased scrutiny and significant fines for data privacy breaches and security lapses. In fact, in the past 12 months, the U.S. Department for Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights (OCR) has recovered more than $10 million in fines for alleged violations of HIPAA.

The graph below shows the 10 largest health data (HIPAA) breaches prior to July 15, 2014. Not only does it detail the company responsible and the millions of patients’ affected, but also what the company did to commit a HIPAA violation.


10 Largest Health Data (HIPAA) Breaches

A financial company working with RMS recently asked for information about how we handle HIPAA policy violations. RMS has streamlined our HIPAA policy to create an overriding company policy for data breaches for all clients, demonstrating collaboration to align client needs and expectations beyond the healthcare industry.

Prior to this, RMS Healthcare had HIPAA policies in place due to The Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act. The HITECH Act requires OCR to apply HIPAA rules and regulations to business associates to ensure patients’ PHI is secure.

Why are non-healthcare related companies adopting HIPAA policies?

Answer: Because consumer data, like healthcare data, is worth a significant amount of money on the black market. Furthermore, fines for not securing private information are high.

In a previous post, we found that Stephen Boyer, Chief Technology Officer of BitSight Technology, said patient’s electronic medical records sell for about $20, while credit card data sells for about $1 per card on the black market. This is a contributing factor to why HIPAA breaches happen so frequently in the healthcare industry and consequences are high.

How can I create policies and procedures to protect clients and customers in order to ensure their security and prevent breaches?

Answer: Please contact Susan Maxsween, Director of Healthcare and Practice Transformation at Research & Marketing Strategies (RMS) at SusanM@rmsresults.com or telephone her at 1-866-567-5422.

RMS Healthcare is a division of Research & Marketing Strategies (RMS) that specializes in HIPAA Compliance Training. For more information about our team and our services visit the RMS Healthcare page here. Please contact Susan Maxsween, Director of Healthcare and Practice Transformation at SusanM@rmsresults.com or telephone her at 1-866-567-5422 for additional information.


With the growth of patient-centered medical homes (PCMH) and the advent of payment reform, care managers are expected to serve an increasing role in managing high risk patients. According to a recent Healthcare Intelligence Network survey care managers in patient-centered medical homes have grown by 20% in the last two years alone. Long-term transformation and healthcare delivery system reform will rely on the work of care managers within the primary care practice to achieve the goals of measurably improving the health of patient populations, controlling costs, such as avoidable hospital use, and more satisfied and engaged patients. Care managers are responsible to initiate, facilitate, and monitor specific patient activities, interventions and chronic care protocols that will become the patient’s care plan. The role of care managers can be summarized in four tasks. To accomplish the goals and objectives for optimal health, the care manager will work in collaboration with the patient and other members of the patient’s care team.

4 Tasks of a Care Manager

Here are the 4 tasks of a care manager:

  • The first task of a care manager is to identify or target high risk patients within the practice that could benefit from care management support. This can be accomplished through the use of technology, analyzing data available through the electronic medical record, or by information supplied from payers. In addition, the practice’s own providers are often a source for determining the most complex patients that would benefit from coordination of services and care management. These sources can often easily identify those patients with the largest utilization of services such as those with frequent office visits, hospitalization, or emergency room visits who would likely benefit from care management support.
  • The second task of a care manager is to perform a thorough assessment of the patient’s and caregivers needs and determine the patient’s goals for improving health. The assessment will review the patient’s clinical history and diagnoses as well as functional, cognitive, and mental health status. Ultimately this assessment will lead to establishment of the patient’s custom care plan. The process of assessment should result in the patient being engaged in determining his or her short and long-term goals and collaborating to determine the actionable objectives and any barriers to meeting specific measurable quality outcomes based on his or her values and preferences. The plan should be developed with both the abilities and aspirations of the patient and/or caregiver and should consider any applicable factors related to the patient’s and/or caregiver’s culture and preferred language. The plan should identify and prioritize the patient’s problems, specifically address quantifiable goals to the problem(s), and outline mutually agreed upon activities to meet the goals. Timelines and methods for monitoring the progress toward the goal should be detailed. The plan should then be given to the patient and/or caregiver in writing. Training and education to the patient and/or caregiver is essential to the success of the plan. The care manager is responsible for self-management support. Patients need to be reminded of their importance in the process and be prepared for their collaborative role in the decisions needed for self management. The care manager should always consider that what they are promoting is the patient’s happiness.
  • The third task of a care manager is to put the plan into action by assisting in delivering any needed interventions including education, referrals to both specialists and community resources and required testing. Community resource needs may include psycho-social support, accommodations for transportation, or auxiliary aids and other community services. The care manager should have a toolkit for facilitating referrals which could include standard forms for access to available county resources and copies of co-management agreements with frequently referred to providers. In addition, the care manager must be certain that all labs, screenings, and specialist reports are available within the patient’s record at the time of each visit. The care manager will work with the patient to use self-management monitoring tools, where applicable.
  • The fourth important task of a case manager is, in collaboration with the patient, to continually reassess and adjust the plan where needed to be certain the interventions have been effective in moving the patient toward their goals. The progress can be assessed with the patient and, where applicable with the caregiver, at each encounter and/or at agreed upon milestones, but at least annually. Any barriers to meeting the plan goals should be reviewed, and adjustments made to keep the patient on track. Updates to the plan may need to be made as progress toward goals is achieved, as circumstances change, or when barriers are encountered.

Assisting patients in achieving their healthcare goals, through care management activities, will ensure sustainability of practice transformation and achievement of triple-aim goals. RMS Healthcare, with over 50 years of collective and proven experience in providing consulting services to our clients is pleased to provide ongoing relevant information on healthcare trends and specific transformation activities to serve our clients. For more information on how we can help your practice with practice transformation or care management activities, please contact Susan Maxsween, Director of Healthcare and Practice Transformation at SusanM@rmsresults.com or telephone her at 1-866-567-5422.

The RMS Analytics Division works with two very different audiences and it is imperative that it tailors each message accordingly. One audience is businesses, which need clear-cut professional messages. Our Analytics Division provides tailored market research and consulting in various industries such as healthcare, education, financial services, manufacturing, and others. Another audience is ViewPoint members, which need creative and intriguing messages. Our ViewPoint research panel is made up of consumers who get paid for participating in focus groups, surveys, mystery shopping, and interviews. The goal of our ViewPoint panel messages for consumers are to get people to sign-up for the panel, whereas our message for businesses is to attempt to generate interest in using ViewPoint for their market research needs.

What are the benefits of using a market research panel for businesses? Click here.

Tips for Marketing to Businesses (B2B)

  • Professional – B2B messages differ from B2C. In many cases you are marketing to corporate decision-makers so your language needs to be tailored appropriately. It isn’t a stand-up comedy show. Although it’s your goal to be noticed, you don’t want to be noticed for the wrong reason or tarnish your brand.
  • Length may vary – Create messages without readers being underwhelmed or overloaded. To do this effectively, plan messages to give business prospects the appropriate amount of information. For instance, healthcare readers are used to more information and more detail so it’s okay to elaborate. But if you are marketing to advertising firms you need to make your message short, appealing, and graphical. Each audience has different tastes.
  • Modify language depending on industry – Do your research on the client and their industry to learn where they go for information (maybe even use a market research vendor like RMS). Also, be well versed on frequent communication strategies for that industry. Use language that is used by others.
  • Be specific - Use or create relevant examples from your portfolio to show potential clients what you could do for them, and how it would be useful. This can be done through client testimonial campaigns or even case study blog posts. We know a little bit about those.
  • Sell – Ultimately, your B2B message first needs to catch readers’ attention and stand out. But then, your message needs to end with a call-to-action. Click here to send an inquiry, click here to read more, call this number, or send us an email, etc. See this example from RMS’s LinkedIn page:

B2B Marketing

Tips for Marketing to Consumers (B2C)

  • Creativity When it comes to consumers, you are allowed to be a little more creative and flexible. Create messages that will grab their attention and keep it by engaging them.
  • Include photos - Photos increase the readership and engagement in messages. Using infographics, photos, or other visuals is a simple trick that will get you more clicks from consumers. No one wants to read boring paragraphs.
  • Short - Get to the point. End.
  • Create enthusiasm – Make consumers excited and motivated by your communication. Give them an option to take a next step, participate further, and even share with friends after they’ve had an experience.
  • Appeal to the masses – With any messages you share online and through social media, your ultimate goal is to make it go viral, trend on Twitter, or be shared on Facebook. More views equal more impressions. See this example from RMS’s Facebook page:

B2C Marketing Tips

Research & Marketing Strategies (RMS) is a market research firm located in Syracuse, NY. If you are interested in learning more about our market research services or better targeting your B2B or B2C marketing please contact the Director of Business Development, Sandy Baker at SandyB@RMSresults.com or by calling 1-866-567-5422.

The following article is a case study of a recently completed hotel feasibility study.

Background: A local restaurant and banquet facility recently partnered with Research & Marketing Strategies Inc. (RMS) to conduct a feasibility study to support its business plan in order to receive financial support to construct and operate an adjacent hotel on its property. The hotel would be parallel to the business and restaurant allowing for easy access between the two facilities. Key objectives of this study included:

  • Conducting an assessment to determine how the hotel will fulfill unmet needs.
  • Determining estimate daily occupancy and average rates.
  • Competitive analysis of hotels in the market area of similar type and size.
  • Demographic data.

Here are 5 key components to a quality feasibility study from a market research firm.

Hotel Feasibility Firm

Need a hotel feasibility firm? Contact Sandy Baker at RMS by dialing 1-866-567-5422.

Approach: Due to budgetary and timeframe constraints, three components of market research were conducted to test the viability of the adjacent hotel: (1) in-depth interviews (IDIs), (2) competitive and demographic analysis, and (3) a 3 year pro-forma financial forecast. RMS conducted 12 IDIs with economic leaders, hospitality groups, and large businesses in the area that use hotels in the area on a regular basis for various reasons to understand market opinions related to the demand and value of building the hotel. Interviews were conducted with key decision-makers for travel in the area. The competitive and secondary research assessed the defined primary market area (PMA) demographics. The overview detailed the scope of surrounding competitive and non-competitive businesses, population growth, travel trends, occupancy rates, average daily rates, consumer expenditures, income, and other key demographic trends in the region. The third and final component created an estimated operational budget prepared by RMS.

Results: At the conclusion of the study, the RMS Analytics team prepared a PowerPoint report which included a summary of key findings, recommendations, and action items derived from both stages of the market research. There was regular interaction with the designated representatives and the RMS team throughout the project engagement. The report was an extensive breakdown of feedback from the IDIs and statistics from the analysis to predict the feasibility of the hotel. Ultimately, the feasibility study arrived at a conclusion for a green light for the hotel with several factors that would influence the success of the venture.

Research & Marketing Strategies (RMS) is a hotel feasibility firm located outside of Syracuse, NY. We specialize in feasibility studies for a variety of industries. If you’d like to know more about RMS and our capabilities please contact our Business Development Director Sandy Baker at SandyB@RMSresults.com or by calling 1-866-567-5422.


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