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

Notable Increase in Breast Cancer Screenings in 2013

Nearly 8,000 additional Minnesota women were screened for breast cancer between 2012 and 2013, according to new data released by MN Community Measurement.

This week, MNCM published new medical group quality results for 10 measures that evaluate what percentage of patients are receiving appropriate medical care, immunizations and screenings at medical groups across Minnesota and in bordering communities. The measures include: appropriate care for bronchitis, COPD, sore throats, colds, ADHD; breast cancer and chlamydia screenings; and childhood and adolescent immunizations.

Breast Cancer Screenings

Eighty-two percent of Minnesota women ages 50 to 74 had a mammogram within the past two years, a 3 percentage point increase over last year’s rates. One in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in her lifetime; regular screening increases the chance of cancer being caught early.

“Mammograms often find breast cancers before women have symptoms,” said Matt Flory, Minnesota Director of Healthcare Partnerships at American Cancer Society. “Catching cancer early improves a woman’s odds of beating the disease. ACS is pleased to learn that more Minnesota women were screened last year because an increase in early detection will reduce breast cancer deaths in Minnesota.”

It’s notable that the rate of breast cancer screenings hit a high of 77% in 2009 before it dipped down to 73% between 2011 and 2013. This is the first increase of this rate in five years. However, the increase may be attributed to an expansion of the age range for this measure this year. Previously, the measure evaluated mammograms for women ages 50 to 69. With guideline changes, the range increased up to age 74 this year.

Medical groups who had the highest percentages of patients who’d been screened for breast cancer were Sacred Heart Mercy Health Care Center in Jackson, MN; Paul Larson Ob/Gyn Clinic in Edina, MN; Minnesota Gyn & Surgery in Edina, MN; Clinic Sofia Ob/Gyn in Edina, MN; and John A. Haugen Associates in Minneapolis, MN. Individual medical group results ranged from a high of 96% to a low of 16%.

For full results, visit the Breast Cancer Screening section of MNHealthScores.org.

Other Results

In addition to Breast Cancer Screening, 2014 report year results were released for nine other measures.

  • Appropriate Care for Children with ADHD on Medication: The average rate remained at 42%, which it was last year. Appropriate care for children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) involves regular follow up to evaluate if medication is working as desired. Individual medical group results ranged from a high of 63% to a low of 25%.
  • Appropriate Care for Adults with Bronchitis: The average rate increased 3 percentage points, from 26% to 29%. Recommended care for bronchitis is not to prescribe antibiotics, because bronchitis is caused by a virus. Overuse of antibiotics results in resistance to medications. Individual medical group results ranged from a high of 92% to a low of 4%.
  • Chlamydia Screening: The average rate of regular screening for chlamydia among sexually active young women increased from 48% to 50%. Chlamydia can be easily cured with antibiotics, but if left untreated can result in infertility and other reproductive damage for women. Individual medical group results ranged from a high of 90% to a low of 3%.
  • Appropriate Testing of COPD: The average rate increased two percentage points from 39% to 41%. Recommended care includes confirmation of a chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) diagnosis with a spirometry test. Individual medical group results ranged from a high of 54% to a low of 16%.
  • Appropriate Care for Children with Colds: Ninety percent of Minnesota kids who have colds do not receive antibiotics, which is the recommended care because most colds are caused by viruses. This is an increase of one percentage point over last year. Individual medical group results ranged from a high of 100% to a low of 48%.
  • Controlling High Blood Pressure: The average rate of patients whose high blood pressure was well controlled increased one percentage point, from 75% to 76%. High blood pressure can result in heart attacks or strokes, which is why control is critical. Individual medical group results ranged from a high of 96% to a low of 43%.
  • Appropriate Care for Children with Sore Throats: The average rate decreased slightly, from 89% to 88%. Recommended care for children with sore throats includes a test for strep throat and antibiotics only if the strep test in positive. Individual medical group results ranged from a high of 100% to a low of 0% – one of the largest ranges of any measure tracked and reported by MN Community Measurement. This indicates significant variation and room for improvement across providers.
  • Immunizations for Adolescents: The average rate of adolescent immunizations jumped four percentage points, from 62% to 66%. This measure evaluates whether Minnesota adolescents have had the recommended vaccinations by their 13th birthday. Individual medical group results ranged from a high of 92% to a low of 13%.
  • Immunizations for Children: The average rate of two-year-olds that had received the appropriate vaccinations increased from 78% to 80%. Individual medical group results ranged from a high of 94% to a low of 53%.

The full results of all measures noted above can be found on MNHealthScores.org,  under Medical Group Information.