Minnesota Community Measurement (MNCM) and Consumer Reports (CR) have teamed up to publish ratings of physician practices on diabetes and cardiovascular care. The MNCM/CR ratings are based on objective, quantitative data collected by the practices. The focus areas are management of diabetes and cardiovascular disease. The report is published in a special supplement in the October version of Consumer Reports for Minnesota subscribers. The supplement is available for free as a PDF.
This is the second of three collaborative efforts between Consumer Reports and state-based health care quality improvement alliances. Massachusetts led the way earlier this year with ratings based on patient experience (which is related to patient satisfaction), and Wisconsin goes next with measures of prevention. Disclosure: my consulting practice is an advisor to the project.
Minnesota is unique in that there is data on cost as well as quality, at least for a small subset of practices. This was considered newsworthy enough by Consumer Reports to be featured in an editorial in the nationwide edition.
I contacted Jim Chase, president of Minnesota Community Measurement, for additional perspective. Here’s what he had to say:
The great thing in working with Consumer Reports (CR) is they take a very scientific approach to this work, as each of our community collaboratives does. We wanted to…test what kinds of information people would find most valuable, and CR has robust processes to see what their readers found useful. We also wanted to test different types of information. That is why Massachusetts chose to publish their Patient Experience reports, Minnesota chose clinical quality measures on two chronic conditions, and Wisconsin will be reporting on prevention. We will be able to get feedback on what presentations worked and what they found useful.
The next phase for each of us is to also test if we can make reporting of this information financially viable. Regional collaboratives like us have been funding our work through grants and local member donations. This information has great value to the public, especially in an environment where people have high deductible plans and have to make more choices about the value of the care they receive. This project is letting us test if there are financial models that would let consumers support the collection and reporting of this data.
We think the public needs more robust information on not just the quality of care, but also the patient experience and cost. We have been able to test two of those aspects, quality and patient experience, in these CR inserts. We were glad that Consumer Reports also shared information on the cost of care at several medical groups from one of our health plans in Minnesota, HealthPartners… This showed where we need to go in our state, to have community wide information for the public on cost, quality and patient experience. Just as our experience has been with quality reporting, we believe giving the public comparable information on the cost of care across medical groups will encourage those providers to increase the value of care for their patients and help the public make better choices about their care.