"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

President’s Letter by Jim Chase

Its January once again: the start of a new year, full of new goals to achieve and new challenges to overcome. This January is particularly special for us at MN Community Measurement, as it marks our 10th anniversary of the then-Minnesota Community Measurement Project becoming a non-profit organization, solidifying our community’s investment in health care transparency and improvement. What began with an idea and a small report on the diabetes performance of about 50 medical groups, has transformed into the primary trusted source for health data sharing and measurement in Minnesota and nationally. It’s been a privilege to be a part of this community and our shared successes over the past decade.

It seems fitting that the past few months have included several significant steps forward on our continued journey to accelerate the improvement of health by publicly reporting health care information.

  • In December, we launched the nation’s first state-wide, multi-payer Total Cost of Care measure which allows providers and the public to compare the cost of care between medical groups. Costs from more than 1.5 million patients were included in the report, which includes information for 115 medical groups representing 1,052 clinics across Minnesota and in neighboring communities.
  • This week, we released our first Health Equity of Care Report which reports health care outcomes stratified by race, Hispanic ethnicity, preferred language and country of origin (REL). Segmented outcomes for five measures were reported at statewide and regional levels. This report is unique as it is the first where medical groups across the state collected the information to help them improve care and tailor their approaches to patients with specific needs. Additionally, by collecting and reporting the data in a standardized format, we can appropriately compare what’s working across different groups and regions of the state.

Neither of these milestones could have been accomplished without the commitment and support of our health care community. As I participate in conferences and events around the country, I am proud to share the unique and innovative community we are a part of. Achieving a standard, agreed-upon Total Cost of Care measure required three years and more than 40 stakeholders to come together and hammer out how to attribute patients to medical groups; perform risk adjustment; define methods of calculation; and specify what data to report publicly and back to medical groups. The inaugural Health Equity of Care Report is the result of a six-year, community-based effort to collect and report REL data following best practices. The clinics and medical groups in our community surmounted organizational, technical and process challenges as they championed and prioritized this effort. Today, 72 percent of medical groups are voluntarily submitting REL data to MNCM using best practices – more than any other community in the nation.

As we begin to celebrate the accomplishments of the past 10 years, we also look ahead to the next ten. We know our role will continue to be vital as we face the growing challenge to transform our health care system to support better health and provide better care at a lower cost.  And we are grateful to have you as a partner as we step into our second decade.