VA Survey of Healthcare Experiences of Patients

Project Overview

The Survey of Healthcare Experiences of Patients (SHEP) measures the experiences of patients who receive care from a Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) hospital, with the goal of ensuring high-quality care for veterans. The survey addresses important aspects of the patient experience, including communication with doctors, communication with nurses, responsiveness of hospital staff, pain management, communication about medication, discharge information, cleanliness of the hospital environment, quietness of the hospital environment, and transition of care. Facilities are scored on various dimensions of the patient experience, based on patient responses to the survey.

Insight’s work is to first support continuous quality improvement of VA inpatient experiences through facility summits. Facility summits involve 2-day site visits to selected VA hospitals. During each summit, Insight researchers and clinicians meet with hospital administrators, physicians, nurses, and other hospital staff to discuss the facility’s best practices and areas for improvement, based on the facility’s SHEP scores. Specific activities on this work includes—

  • Developing facility-specific data collection protocols based on analysis of the facility’s SHEP scores
  • Collaborating with partner Ipsos and selected facilities to develop summit agendas
  • Data collection, including interviews and focus groups with hospital administrators, clinicians and other staff, and observations of clinical encounters
  • Analyzing qualitative data and preparing a summary report
  • Automating the development of quarterly Veterans Integrated Service Network (VISN) reports and facility-level reports using Python

Insight also supports this SHEP implementation work quantitatively—

  • Using SAS to statistically evaluate differences in VA care versus community care using 19 separate SHEP items
  • Developing a self-contained Python script that performs quick, efficient, automated reformatting of a large volume of standard Ipsos Bayes Nets structural maps and reformatting the data so the resultant maps are compatible with SHEP specifications


Facility summit summary reports; quarterly VISN-level and facility-level automated reports