Quality of Care in Minnesota Shows Improvement Pre-COVID

MN Community Measurement releases Minnesota Health Care Quality Report: Results for Care Delivered in 2019

Minnesota health care providers made encouraging improvements in quality of care in the year leading up to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a new report from MN Community Measurement (MNCM). The percentage of adults who received optimal diabetes care and those who were up to date on colorectal cancer screenings both increased in 2019. In addition, the share of adolescents who received mental health and/or depression screening at well care visits also increased.

The pandemic has had impacts throughout the health care system, including on chronic disease management and preventive care, and has added to previous concerns about mental health. People with certain chronic diseases like diabetes and heart disease are known to be at higher risk for severe cases of COVID-19. In addition, missing out on preventive care like cancer screenings can lead to more serious problems if a disease is not detected until it is more advanced.

MNCM produces comprehensive, trusted data that helps to monitor health care quality and outcomes in Minnesota. MNCM will be a key source of information going forward regarding how the pandemic has impacted health care and health outcomes in Minnesota, and how health care providers adapt to deliver high-quality care both during the pandemic and after it subsides. Data from MNCM are used by health care providers, health plans, state agencies, employers, and consumers to better understand variation in quality and cost of health care in Minnesota and to drive improvement over time.

The most recent results come from data reported to MNCM in 2020, covering services received by patients in 2019. Report highlights include:

  • Statewide, the percentage of adults who were up to date on colorectal cancer screening increased from 71.1 percent to 73.2 percent.
  • The percentage of people with diabetes who received optimal care to manage their disease increased from 44.9 percent to 45.4 percent.
  • The percentage of adolescents receiving mental health and/or depression screening at a well care check-up increased from 86.1 percent to 88.7 percent.

This year’s report includes information on outcomes of depression care for adolescents for the first time. Less than half (43.4 percent) of adolescents with depression received a follow-up assessment after six months, and only 8 percent were in remission after six months.

Despite improvement in key areas, the report also documents performance declines for two key measures: optimal asthma control for children (fell from 59.9 percent to 58.3 percent), and optimal vascular care (fell from 61.1 percent to 60.3 percent).

“While there continue to be large opportunities for improvement, it’s encouraging to see progress in some key areas,” said Julie Sonier, MNCM President and CEO. “It’s not easy to move the needle on many of these important indicators that reflect quality of health care in Minnesota, so we want to celebrate progress, highlight successes, and learn what works to improve care.”

Nine medical groups achieved above-average performance on at least half of the measures included in this year’s report for which they were eligible. Those groups are:

  • CentraCare Health.
  • Entira Family Clinics.
  • Essentia Health.
  • Fairview Health Services.
  • HealthPartners Central Minnesota Clinics.
  • HealthPartners Clinics.
  • Mankato Clinic, Ltd.
  • Park Nicollet Health Services.
  • Westfields Hospital and Clinic.

The Minnesota Health Care Quality Report: Results for Care Delivered in 2019 includes data on measures for preventive care, care for chronic conditions like diabetes and heart disease, depression care, and other measures. An appendix to the report includes detailed quality information for 159 medical groups and 891 clinics in Minnesota and neighboring states, and consumers can also search the data using an interactive tool at www.mnhealthscores.org.

Importance of Measurement

Measuring and reporting 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 quite 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 patient experience. Learn more at www.mncm.org.