MNCM News

"The two words ‘information’ and ‘communication’ are often used interchangeably, but they signify quite different things. Information is giving out; communication is getting through." -- Sydney J. Harris

High Quality Follow up Care for Patients with Depression Continues to Increase

Follow up for patients with depression at the key intervals of six and 12 months following diagnosis continued to increase in 2014, according to new information released by MN Community Measurement (MNCM).

Nearly 3,000 additional patients received critical follow up and nearly 1,000 more showed signs of improvement due to treatment since last year.

MNCM published 2014 clinical performance results for depression, diabetes and vascular care on MNHealthScores.org this week.

Depression Care

The largest increases in patients receiving high-quality care between 2013 and 2014 occurred in depression care. In particular, the statewide average for depression follow-up six months after diagnosis jumped three percentage points from 31 percent to 34 percent, and for follow-up 12 months after diagnosis increased three percentage points from 23 percent to 26 percent. Both measures also had notable increases last year.

Follow up is a critical part of depression care and treatment, because depression can cause people to isolate themselves and stop reaching out for care – often when they need it most. This measure looks at how many patients with depression completed a Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-9) six months and 12 months after their diagnosis. The PHQ-9 is a widely-used, validated tool that asks nine questions about the patient’s concerns and how he or she feels, which helps their provider know if their depression symptoms are under control or if a change in their treatment plan is needed.

The statewide averages for other depression care measures in 2014 are:

  • Depression remission six months after diagnosis remained at 8 percent after several years of successive increases. Similarly, remission 12 months after diagnosis also remained steady at 6 percent. Remission is defined as patients reporting few to no symptoms of depression – in other words, their depression is under control.
  • Depression response six months after diagnosis increased from 13 to 14 percent, which continues a steady increase in the results of this measure since 2011; while response 12 months after diagnosis remained steady at 10 percent. Response is defined as patients reporting half as many symptoms as when they were first diagnosed – in other words, they’re making progress and responding to their treatment plan.
  • Use of the PHQ-9 tool remained steady at 70 percent of Minnesota clinics.

The number of Minnesota clinics achieving high-quality depression care has steadily increased since these measures were first publicly reported in 2010.

For more details or to find your clinic, visit the depression care section of MNHealthScores.

Diabetes and Vascular Care

Both the Optimal Diabetes Care and Optimal Vascular Care measures underwent changes this year that result in the inability to compare the 2014 results to previous years. In reaction to changes in clinical guidance and evidence that strongly recommended statin use and discouraged treatment to target LDL levels for patients at high-risk for development cardiovascular disease, MNCM undertook a process to redesign the cholesterol component of both the diabetes and vascular care measures. For this year alone, the component was removed from the calculation of each measure as medical groups adjust to collect the appropriate information for the new cholesterol component, which will be added back into the measure next year.

The percentage of Minnesotans receiving optimal diabetes care in 2014 was 53 percent statewide. In 2014, the evaluation of high-quality diabetes care included hitting these four treatment goals:

  • If the patient’s blood pressure is at target (less than 140/90 mmHg)
  • If the patient’s blood sugar (A1c) is at target (less than 8 percent)
  • That the patient is not using tobacco
  • That the patient takes aspirin daily, if appropriate

The number of clinics achieving optimal diabetes care for their patients has been publicly reported since 2007. For more details or to find your clinic, visit the diabetes care section of MNHealthScores.

The percentage of Minnesotans receiving optimal vascular care in 2014 was 69 percent. In 2014, the evaluation of high-quality vascular care included hitting these three treatment goals:

  • If the patient’s blood pressure is at target (less than 140/90 mmHg)
  • That the patient is not using tobacco
  • That the patient takes aspirin daily, if appropriate

The number of clinics achieving optimal vascular care for their patients has been publicly reported since 2008. For more details or to find your clinic, visit the vascular care section of MNHealthScores.