MN Community Measurement (MNCM), an independent nonprofit organization that empowers health care decision makers with meaningful data to drive improvement, has released a report highlighting quality measures for preventive health services in Minnesota. It includes information on cancer screening, infectious disease screening, and vaccinations for children and adolescents. The report, “2018 Preventive Health Measures,” presents data collected by MNCM in 2018, including an online appendix with comparisons by medical group and clinic. Medical group results for the immunizations for adolescents measure – now including the new HPV vaccine component – are also being publicly reported for the first time.
Childhood and Adolescent Immunizations
Both immunization measures are improving and show statistically significant increases in statewide rates compared to last year. The statewide rate for the Childhood Immunization Status (Combo 10) measure is 60 percent, a six-percentage point increase compared to 2017. The statewide rate for the new version of the adolescent immunization measure, now including the HPV vaccine, is 26 percent. While there is ample room for improvement, the statewide rate improved by 11 percentage points compared to 2017.
American Cancer Society State Health Systems Manager Matt Flory applauds the inclusion of the HPV vaccination component in the adolescents measure. Flory says, “By giving boys and girls these shots, we can prevent six types of cancer. The American Cancer Society recommends this vaccination at age 11 or 12, which aligns perfectly with the new measure. In the future, we hope to see more 13-year-olds receive the HPV shot at the same time they are vaccinated for the other shots in the combo.”
Colorectal Cancer Screening
Although there was a decrease in the statewide colorectal cancer screening rate, this was due, at least in part, to changes to the denominator that were made to align with the national measure.
The changes removed relevant preventive service codes, reducing the size of the total population
included in the measure.
The Colorectal Cancer Screening measure uses data from clinics, which enables reporting of results by geography, age, gender, race, Hispanic ethnicity, language, and country of origin. Colorectal Cancer Screening rates are significantly higher for patients who live in metro areas,
are age 60 and older, or female. Notably, colorectal cancer screening rates for all populations of color are significantly below the statewide average.
Variation in Medical Group Performance
There is significant variation in medical group performance for all preventive health screening measures analyzed, but several medical groups and clinics are achieving noteworthy results for many of the measures. There were eight primary care or multi-specialty medical groups with rates significantly above the statewide average on at least 50 percent of the preventive health measures for which they were eligible. Seventeen primary care clinics received a top rating on the Colorectal Cancer Screening measure, after adjustment for different patient risk factors.
Allina Health President and CEO Dr. Penny Wheeler says, “Allina Health believes in measuring what matters to the people we serve and is grateful for MN Community Measurement as a trusted community resource to guide quality improvement. We are very proud of the quality outcomes our patients achieve as a result.”
The Importance of Preventive Health Screenings
MN Community Measurement has been collecting and publishing measures on preventive health since 2005. The topic continues to be an important focus for measurement because it can aid in preventing disease, detecting illness at an early state when treatment works best, helping people live healthier lives, and keeping health care costs down. Some of the most common preventive health services recommended include cancer screenings and immunizations.
Julie Sonier, president of MN Community Measurement, says, “Collecting and publishing data about how often recommended preventive services are being delivered is a powerful way for our community to focus on health care quality and improvement. We are especially encouraged this year by the improvement in immunization rates for children and adolescents.”