"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

Minnesota healthcare improves through public reporting

By Maya Clanton, National Research Corporation

Minnesota healthcare is improving thanks to a local non-profit organization taking a proactive approach and getting medical groups on board with public reporting of patient experience scores. The release of the scores made its debut in August 2013 and can be found on

Minnesota Community Measurement (MNCM), a non-profit organization that collects and reports healthcare data to drive improvement, began recruiting medical groups in 2008 to use the Clinician and Group Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (CGCAHPS) tool to survey. (The 6-month version of the tool was recently mandated by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) for use in the ACO program starting in January 2014). All versions of the tool measure patient experiences of care delivered by a provider in an office setting, and provides objective question sets related to the patient experience that have been tested at the national level. In 2008, 124 Minnesota clinics volunteered to participate in the survey; with last year’s state mandate that number grew to 717 clinics. Anne Snowden, Director of Performance Measurement and Reporting at MNCM, played an integral role in the survey implementation plan.

Snowden said the state averages since 2008 have improved in all four reportable domains of the CGCAHPS tool (access to care, provider communication, office staff, and rating of provider). Specifically, the access to care domain has significantly improved.

And MNCM wasn’t just reporting the scores.

“We had an opportunity to engage with providers and explain what their results meant,” Snowden said. We know that understanding patient experience results is important and consumers want this information.”

In addition, the launch of the CGCAHPS scores in Minnesota sparked intense media coverage.

“There’s an appetite for this kind of information in the healthcare community,” Snowden said. We are providing objective, validated results about our clinics so consumers can make educated decisions about their healthcare.

MNCM selected National Research Corporation in 2012 as its central survey vendor for some Minnesota medical and physician clinics without a prior survey vendor relationship. To learn more, contact

Learn more about MNCM.