"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

Partnering with Others to Improve Care Statewide

MNCM_10thAnnivLogo_RibbonOnly_FNLMinnesota has long been a national leader in health and health care measurement and improvement – an achievement that has been driven by our community. And we continue to seek impactful and collaborative ways to improve the health of all Minnesotans.

MN Community Measurement (MNCM) has had a significant impact on the health of Minnesotans by measuring and publicly reporting health care information over the past decade. An important element in that success is our long-term partnership with the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH).

“Our achievements are not made alone, but with the support of key partners, Minnesota’s highly-engaged health care community, and an acknowledgement by the State of Minnesota that championing the collection of health care information is critical to improving care statewide,” said Jim Chase, MNCM President. “By working with the State of Minnesota, we can bring individuals and organizations together to help our community continue to improve health and maximize value.”

In 2008, Minnesota passed a state health reform law that aimed to improve community health, patient experience and the affordability of care. This laid the groundwork for our partnership with MDH, which continues today.

The law charged Minnesota’s Commissioner of Health with the task of:

  • Developing a standardized set of measures to assess the quality of health care services offered by health care providers;
  • Establishing standards for measuring health outcomes;
  • Establishing a system for risk adjusting quality measures; and,
  • Publicly reporting the quality measure results.
State Mandate Brings Last Medical Groups to the Table

By the time Minnesota’s health care reform laws passed, 85 percent of the state’s providers had already voluntarily risen to the challenge of collecting and submitting data on the quality of the care they were providing. However, the new law’s requirement that all providers follow suit brought the last medical groups into the fold.

A major goal of the health care reform law was to improve health care quality in Minnesota while simultaneously reducing its cost. These efforts aligned seamlessly with MNCM’s focus on the Triple Aim of cost, quality and patient experience.

By compelling the remaining medical groups in Minnesota to collect and report data on health care quality, the state mandate provided patients with more well-rounded and complete information on their health care options as they’re making decisions. It provided clinics and medical groups that hadn’t previously collected the information with benchmarks to understand how the quality of their care compared to that of their peers – and, more importantly, where they could make improvements. Both uses of the information improve health care for all Minnesotans.

Minnesota Statewide Quality Reporting and Measurement System

Minnesota’s 2008 Health Reform Law required MDH to establish a standard set of quality measures for health care providers across the state. This became known as the Minnesota Statewide Quality Reporting and Measurement System (SQRMS). The requirement that all hospitals and clinics medical groups collect and report annually on the uniform set of measures in SQRMS went into effect on January 1, 2010.

For the past six years, MDH has contracted with MNCM to collect the data required by SQRMS, as well as assist clinics and hospitals in meeting the requirements. As part of this contract, MNCM subcontracts with the Minnesota Hospital Association and Stratis Health to assist with key activities.

MNCM’s key responsibilities as part of SQRMS are to:

  • Facilitate the data collection, validation and management of information collected from physician clinics and hospitals;
  • Develop and implement provider education about measures included in SQRMS and the data collection process;
  • Work with community stakeholders to review existing measures and develop new measures;
  • Develop recommendations annually of the uniform set of quality measures for the State’s consideration;
  • Hold public meetings to present and obtain feedback on the recommended uniform set of measures;
  • Manage the implementation of the standardized statewide Patient Experience of Care survey process;
  • Submit both risk-adjusted and unadjusted final clinic-level results to MDH; and,
  • Conduct data analyses.
Working Together to Achieve Common Goals

MNCM was a pioneer in collaborative health care reporting at a critical time for health care in Minnesota. The addition of the state requirement in 2008 benefits the development, implementation and data collection of measures that improve health care quality.

MDH and MNCM are both committed to improving health by providing quality, cost and patient experience in high-impact areas where measurement is lacking. Through this partnership, MDH has also invested in the development of several measurement areas including asthma care, pediatric preventive care, orthopedics, maternity, patient experience and others. Together we have pushed further into specialty care measurement and the use of patient-reported outcomes tools to evaluate care, which provide even more meaningful information and immense value to our community.

As we begin our second decade as the trusted source of health care performance information in Minnesota, we know that this and other key partnerships will help us continue to accelerate the improvement of health by publicly reporting health care information.