Brief Description of the Database

The SEER-CAHPS data set is a resource for quality of care research based on a linkage between the NCI's Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results (SEER)External Web Site Policy cancer registry data and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services' (CMS) Medicare Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (CAHPS®)External Web Site Policy patient surveys.

The SEER Program works to provide information on cancer statistics in an effort to reduce the burden of cancer among the U.S. population. SEER collects data on cancer cases from various locations and sources throughout the U.S. Data collection began in 1973 with a limited amount of registries and continues to expand to include even more areas and demographics today.

Since 1997, CMS has sponsored annual administrations of the Medicare CAHPS surveys to assess the health care experiences of Medicare enrollees in Medicare Advantage (MA) and fee-for-service (FFS) health plans.The CAHPS surveys are some of the most widely used instruments for measuring US healthcare quality.

The SEER-CAHPS data set links 3 types of data: clinical/registry (SEER), survey (CAHPS), and administrative/billing (Medicare claims and enrollment files). The data are linked through the collaborative efforts of NCI, the SEER registries, and CMS.

These data provide a rich opportunity for analyses of Medicare beneficiaries' experiences with their care at various stages of the cancer care continuum, including: initial year after diagnosis, when patients are most likely to receive cancer treatments; post-treatment follow-up care; long-term cancer survivorship; and final end-of-life care. Analyses from these data have the potential to fill an important gap in existing knowledge by enabling comparisons of patients' care experiences between MA and FFS beneficiaries and between patients with and without cancer. For Medicare FFS beneficiaries, the SEER-CAHPS data set also allows for the evaluation of their health care utilization and costs of care through the linkage to Medicare claims.

The data linkage includes:

  • Medicare CAHPSExternal Web Site Policy data from surveys collected in 1997-2013 to assess patient experiences of multiple aspects of their care, such as access to needed and timely care, doctor communication, and global ratings of their personal doctor, specialists, overall health care, and their health/prescription drug plan;
  • SEER registry data (diagnosis years 1973-2011) on cancer site, stage, treatment, death information, and patient sociodemographics; and
  • Longitudinal Medicare claims data (2002-2013) on utilization and costs of care for FFS beneficiaries (approximately 40% of the total sample). Please note that Medicare Part D claims data are not currently available in the SEER-CAHPS linked data resource.