"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

MNCM Cancer Measures Approved for Implementation in the 2020 Report Year

MNCM’s Cancer Care Measure Development Workgroup recently completed pilot testing of four new patient reported outcome (PRO) based Symptom Control During Chemotherapy (SCDC) measures. The Workgroup concluded that the four measures tested are feasible to collect and demonstrate variation and opportunity for improvement. They recommended implementation of the measures for oncology practices in the 2020 report year (2019 dates of service).

The results of the pilot testing and the Workgroup’s measure recommendations were presented to the Measurement and Reporting Committee (MARC) at their meeting on February 14, 2018. MARC members had a thoughtful discussion and approved the recommendation as presented. The measures were approved by the MNCM Board on February 21, 2018. The measures include:

  1. Symptom Severity Assessment During Chemotherapy (process; PRO tool administration)
  2. Symptom Control During Chemotherapy: Pain (outcome)
  3. Symptom Control During Chemotherapy: Nausea (outcome)
  4. Symptom Control During Chemotherapy: Constipation (outcome)

These measures will support MNCM’s goals to include more specialty and patient reported outcomes (PRO) measures in our slate of measures for public reporting.

All oncology practices in Minnesota and surrounding communities are encouraged to begin implementing this symptom assessment tool in their practices in 2018 but no later than January 1, 2019. An educational webinar will be scheduled in the fall of 2018.

View Measure Development Workgroup Members, Chemotherapy Symptom Control Measure and Field Specifications, PRO-CTCAE tool, and Pilot Results.


Health Care Quality Report Highlights Improvements in Care

MN Community Measurement (MNCM), an independent non-profit organization that collects and reports health care data to drive statewide system improvement, today released its 2017 Health Care Quality Report. This 14th annual report provides data related to preventive and chronic care comparing statewide, regional, medical group and clinic performance.Health Care Quality Report

A highlight of this year’s analysis is improvement in quality measures related to mental health. The rate of Adolescent Depression and/or Mental Health Screening increased by nine percentage points since last year’s report, from 64 to 73 percent. Since 2015, the rate for this measure has improved 33 percentage points resulting in over 45,000 more adolescents across Minnesota receiving screening for depression during this time period.

Improvements were also seen in measures for adult depression care follow-up and outcomes. Depression is a common and treatable mental disorder. According to a recent National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NCHS), it is estimated that over 8 percent of American adults had an episode of major depression in a given two week period. MNCM’s suite of depression measures was developed to increase follow-up and improve depression outcomes.

This year’s report shows improvement in three of the depression measures:

  • The depression follow-up rate at 12 months increased by nearly five percentage points, from 22.8 to 27.3 percent;
  • The depression response rate at 12 months (fewer symptoms after starting treatment) improved by nearly two percentage points, from nine to 11 percent; and
  • The depression remission rate at 12 months (no symptoms or very few symptoms after starting treatment) improved by over one percentage point, from five to six percent. This represents over 5,800 patients with depression symptoms in remission.

Entira Family Clinics – West St. Paul had the top depression follow-up rate at 69 percent, the top response rate at 44 percent and the top remission rate at 39 percent.

These improvements reflect better follow-up with patients and improved communication between patients and their primary care providers, and between primary care providers and behavioral health providers. Most importantly, these numbers reflect overall better outcomes for patients with depression.

“We still have a long way to go, but it’s encouraging to see progress in screening, follow-up and outcomes for depression,” said Julie Sonier, MNCM President. “While the statewide improvements may appear small, they reflect tangible improvements for real people with a very challenging chronic disease. The most important news is that the hard work of follow-up is showing progress, and patients are benefiting with improved depression outcomes. The fact that all of these measures are trending upward shows that Minnesota health care providers’ efforts in this area are paying off.”

Other notable improvements in quality measures and trends over time included:

  • In the Colorectal Cancer Screening measure, the rate has increased nine percentage points since 2011 from 64 percent to 73 percent representing over 116,000 more patients being screened for colorectal cancer. Three medical groups had colorectal cancer screening rates at 90 percent or higher: Obstetrics, Gynecology and Infertility – Maple Grove, CentraCare Health Plaza – Internal Medicine and Catalyst Medical Clinic in Watertown.
  • Since 2012, the rate for adolescent immunization increased 33 percentage points from 53 to 86 percent. This means that 9,400 more adolescents in Minnesota received recommended immunizations (one dose of meningococcal vaccine and one tetanus, diphtheria toxoids and acellular pertussis vaccine) before their thirteenth birthday. Wayzata Children’s Clinic and Southdale Pediatrics Associates had the top adolescent immunization rate at 98 percent.

The report also highlights fifteen medical groups with consistent high performance on three or more quality measures over three years and 17 medical groups with consistent improvement on three or more quality measures over the same time period.

To read the full report and explore other measures statewide, visit The annual report is a compilation of all quality measures publicly reported by MNCM during the year. Individual clinic and medical group results are available at and updated as new data become available.

MNCM’s goal with the Health Care Quality Report and other initiatives is to provide reliable information to support both quality improvement in the medical community and health care transparency with the public. According to the 2017 Price Transparency and Physician Quality Report Card from Altarum Institute and Catalyst for Payment Reform, Minnesota was one of only two states that earned an “A” for our outstanding work in physician quality websites through

About MN Community Measurement

MN Community Measurement is a non-profit organization dedicated to improving health by publicly reporting health care information. A trusted source of health care data and public reporting on quality, cost and patient experience since 2003, MNCM works with medical groups, health plans, employers, consumers and state agencies to spur quality improvement, reduce health care costs and maximize value. Learn more at and


MNCM Launches Streamlined Quality Data Submission (SQDS) Project

Measuring the quality of health care is an essential component to improving the care received by patients and ultimately to managing the total cost of care. In today’s environment, data for quality measurement is gathered through multiple data sources, including direct data submission by providers and claims information supplied by health plans and other payers. While the data supplied through these mechanisms have provided a strong foundation for quality measurement and the insights medical groups receive about their patients are extremely valuable to quality improvement, some challenges remain:

  • Collecting the data for measurement can be time consuming, detailed and complex work that requires significant investment on the part of providers.
  • Submission of data on an annual basis does not provide the opportunity for early identification and interventions to address quality issues as they are identified.
  • Collection of data from multiple sources through different mechanisms requiring manual integration for measurement and reporting creates inefficiencies that delay the sharing of feedback with data contributors.

MN Community Measurement recognizes both the benefits and burdens of reporting health care data. Through this initiative, MNCM seeks to increase the benefits and lessen the burden for our data-contributing medical groups while delivering more timely information to inform quality improvement. The first phase of this project began with an internal review of the drivers of provider burden in quality measurement and reporting identified through a variety of sources – technical assistance provided through data submission and validation processes, feedback gathered in Q/A calls with data submitters, variance requests, information collected through the Direct Data Submission portal, and more.

MNCM will be engaging Minnesota providers currently submitting quality data to review the results of the internal evaluation to provide further insights on drivers of provider burden and potential solutions, as well as information on their data and what’s needed to advance quality improvement within their patient populations. This input will assist MNCM in defining the business requirements for the new quality information system, particularly as it relates to streamlining data submission as well as timeliness and presentation of the needed information.


MNCM Evaluates Opportunity for Collaborative Provider Feedback Reporting

At the August 2017 strategic planning session of the MNCM Board of Directors, a new strategic priority was recommended and subsequently adopted as part of the MNCM 2017-2020 Strategic Plan. The focus of this strategic priority calls for a collaborative approach with MNCM and its key stakeholders to explore, potentially identify and begin developing solutions for collaborative provider feedback reporting. MNCM would work to create a collaborative, multi-payer system for timely, actionable provider feedback reporting on cost, resource use, and quality using both clinical and claims data.

The goal would be to reduce fragmentation of information received by providers, reduce duplication of efforts and increase the availability of timely and actionable information. This strategic priority builds on key MNCM strengths as a trusted source of data for health care quality and cost and as a forum for collaboration that improves efficiency and value.

The first step to begin this work is conducting an environmental scan – gathering information from both payers and providers – to determine the feasibility and define the appropriate scope for this type of service. MNCM anticipates the environmental scan will be completed during the first quarter and the findings will be presented to the MNCM Board at their May meeting. If the MNCM Board determines that there is sufficient interest for the effort to advance, MNCM will proceed with additional efforts to determine the best technical approach to accomplish the goals, the resources necessary to support the service and potential models for financial sustainability of the service.


Spine and Total Knee Measures Redesign – MNCM Seeking Workgroup Members

MNCM is seeking workgroup members to participate in a focused measure redesign of the lumbar spine surgery and total knee replacement measures.

The workgroup’s scope of redesign will include changes to:

  • The measure construct to allow benchmarking capabilities (TKR and Spine)
  • Expanding the denominator definition for the discectomy/ laminotomy population (Spine)

Deadline for nominations for workgroup members is Friday, March 2, 2018. It is anticipated that this work will be completed in one or two meetings starting in the spring of 2018.

Due to attrition over time, we are recruiting for a variety of members in both workgroups. Preference for the selection of workgroup members for redesign activities will be based on active involvement in MNCM data submission and public reporting of these measures.

We are currently seeking participants to represent the following stakeholder groups:

  • Clinicians/surgeons who provide care or perform procedures for lumbar spine surgery or total knee replacement (Orthopedics and Neurosurgery)
    • Additionally seeking a workgroup chair for the Total Knee Replacement workgroup
  • Data analyst
  • Quality improvement professional
  • Practice or facility administrator
  • Health plan representative
  • State agency – MDH/DHS
  • Consumer or consumer advocate
  • Employers or other group purchasers

To nominate yourself or another individual, please complete this form. If nominating someone other than yourself, your nomination will generate an invitation to complete the self-nomination process. In the Active Workgroup section, please indicate if you are interested in the Spine or Total Knee Replacement workgroup.

Learn more about MNCM’s measure development process and the expectations of workgroup participants.

Thank you for your interest!


Deadline Extended for COPD Pilot Participant Signup

MN Community Measurement (MNCM), in conjunction with the National Quality Forum (NQF), is seeking interested family medicine, internal medicine, geriatric medicine and pulmonology practices for participation in our new pilot “Controlling the Impact of COPD on Health Status.” Please take this short survey to help determine pilot eligibility and you will be contacted appropriately. Eligible medical groups will be compensated for their pilot participation.

Please email Tony Weldon ( with any questions.


Blood Pressure Component Redesign – MNCM Seeking Workgroup Members

MNCM is seeking workgroup members to participate in a focused measure redesign of the blood pressure component for the Optimal Diabetes Care and Optimal Vascular Care measures. The workgroup’s scope of redesign will include potential changes to:

  • The blood pressure component < 140/90 in light of recent updated guidelines
  • The use of ambulatory blood pressure (ABP) and home blood pressure monitoring (HBP)

Deadline for nominations for workgroup members is Friday, February 16, 2018.

New guidelines for the prevention, detection, evaluation and management of high blood pressure were published in November 2017 by the American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association (ACC/AHA). These guidelines recommend lower systolic (<130) and diastolic (<80) treatment targets for patients with hypertension as well as those with high risk conditions such as diabetes and ischemic vascular disease. Moving to a new blood pressure target is not necessarily a straightforward change as there are conflicting guidelines and disagreement among providers and specialty societies. The American Academy of Family Practice has formally declined the endorsement of the new guidelines citing concerns with methodology and perceived conflicts of interest.

We are seeking to convene a multi-stakeholder workgroup with a balance of provider specialties and health care organizations to help us evaluate these new guidelines. Preference will be given to clinicians whose patients are included in these measures. It is anticipated that this work will be completed in one or two meetings starting in March 2018.

We are currently seeking participants to represent the following stakeholder groups:

  • Clinicians who provide care to patients with diabetes or ischemic vascular disease (IVD)
    (Internal or Family Medicine, Cardiology, Endocrinology and Nephrology)
  • Data analyst
  • Quality improvement professional
  • Practice or facility administrator
  • Health plan representative
  • State agency – MDH/DHS
  • Consumer or consumer advocate representing the interests of patients with diabetes or IVD
  • Employers or other group purchasers

To nominate yourself or another individual, please complete this form. If nominating someone other than yourself, your nomination will generate an invitation to complete the self-nomination process.

Learn more about MNCM’s measure development process and the expectations of workgroup participants.

Thank you for your interest!


Call for Presentations: Annual Seminar

DEADLINE: Monday, April 30, 2018

MNCM is seeking your stories of success and challenges in improving the health of patients through measurement and data. New this year, this call for presentations is your opportunity to share best practices, lessons learned, achievements and future plans at our annual seminar in September.

Presentation Focus Areas:

  • Effective strategies to improve health equity and reduce disparities
  • Advancing quality through collaboration and effective use of data in rural communities
  • Leveraging performance data to target interventions and improve quality
  • Leveraging cost data to inform strategies for advancing affordability

The seminar’s format includes keynote speakers, plenary panels and breakout sessions with quality measurement experts both locally and nationally. There is also the ability to network with colleagues in health care quality. Past seminars have totaled over 300 attendees.

Seminar Target Audience:

  • Health care organizations and clinicians working in patient quality
  • Employer groups working to improve the health of their employees through measurement and data
  • Community collaboratives working in quality and equity
  • Purchasers who use quality data for P4P program
  • National health policy makers
  • State and federal health agencies

Abstract Information:

  • Include your name, credentials, title, organization, email address and phone number
  • Provide a brief description of your presentation including how it relates to the focus areas above
  • Describe your presentation learning objectives for attendees

Applicants will be notified by early May 2018.

Submit your application here.

Submitters whose presentations are selected will be offered to present at a breakout session or be part of a panel discussion based on seminar openings. Presenters/panel members will be offered a complimentary registration to the seminar and must complete a Conflict of Interest form.

Please direct questions to Deadline to submit proposals is Monday, April 30, 2018.

About MNCM’s Annual Seminar:

MN Community Measurement’s Annual Seminar presents the most relevant topics in health care quality, measurement and improvement through meaningful keynote speakers, substantial panel discussions and worthwhile breakout sessions.