Minnesota Health Care Quality Regaining Ground Lost During Pandemic

New Report Highlights Statewide Trends, Variation by Region and Medical Group

Statewide performance on key measures of health care quality improved in 2021 but remains below pre-pandemic levels, according to a new report from MN Community Measurement. The Minnesota Health Care Quality Report Part 1: Clinical Quality Measures Reported by Medical Groups includes information about trends for measures of health care quality, including care for diabetes, heart disease, asthma, and mental health. In addition to providing statewide averages and data for specific medical groups and clinics, the report features a new level of analysis that shows variation in performance for 16 geographic regions within Minnesota.

The new results come from data reported to MNCM in 2022, covering services received by patients in 2021. Report highlights include:

  • For most quality measures, statewide performance improved in 2021 but remains below the pre-pandemic level. Two exceptions to this trend include adolescent mental health screening, which has increased each year for the past five years, and improved outcomes after one year for adults diagnosed with depression.
  • The data also show a return toward more typical patient volumes in 2021. During the first year of the pandemic fewer people were accessing care for preventive services and management of chronic conditions, raising concerns about potential long-term impacts on health from delayed or forgone care.
  • For the first time, the report analyzes variation across 16 regions within Minnesota to better understand regional differences in health care quality and outcomes. The Rochester and Minnetonka areas had above average outcomes for six of the eight measures included in this analysis, while several regions were below the state average on half or more of the measures.
  • Across all measures, there continues to be significant variation in performance among medical groups and clinics. For both adults and children, the largest variation was in Optimal Asthma Control.

“It is encouraging to see the partial recovery for most measures in 2021, but Minnesota still has some distance to go in getting back to where we were prior to the pandemic,” said Julie Sonier, MNCM President and CEO. “Additionally, the high level of variation in quality that we see suggests that there is substantial room for improvement in most measures.”

The report includes performance data for approximately 125 medical groups that operate about 800 clinics in Minnesota and border communities in neighboring states. Medical group and clinic level performance is also publicly available, with profile pages for all measures and an interactive Dynamic Tables tool that allows filtering and sorting of the data.

Importance of Measurement

Measuring and reporting on health care quality helps consumers understand how care varies across providers, allows providers to identify improvement opportunities and how their measures compare to others, and helps health plans and other purchasers better understand and improve value for money that is spent on health care.

“Minnesota is unique in the capabilities that we’ve built to measure and report on health care outcomes,” said Sonier. “Having a common set of priorities and common set of data have been huge assets to our state in focusing efforts to drive improvement.”

About MN Community Measurement MN Community Measurement is a nonprofit organization dedicated to empowering health care decision makers with meaningful data to drive improvement. A trusted source of health care data since 2005, MNCM works with doctors, hospitals, clinics, insurance companies, and state agencies to collect, analyze, and report health care data related to quality, cost, and equity of health care. Learn more at www.mncm.org.