What measurement means for vascular care

If you have vascular disease, it is important to reach specific treatment goals to protect your health. Vascular disease is any health condition that affects the heart or blood vessels. It can lead to hardening or clogging of the arteries that can raise your risk of stroke. It can also limit your heart’s ability to supply oxygen and nutrients to your body.

Measuring high-quality care for vascular disease includes treatment goals in four areas:

  • Blood pressure is less than 140/90 mmHg
  • Being tobacco-free
  • Taking a statin as needed to manage cholesterol
  • Taking an aspirin daily, if appropriate

You should also talk with your doctor or nurse to see if taking a statin mediation is right for you.

Everyone is at risk of vascular disease, and nearly one out of every two people will develop it in his or her lifetime. With the increase in obesity and Type 2 diabetes in Americans and as the population ages, it is estimated that by 2024 vascular disease will take the lives of over 2 million Americans each year.

Vascular disease affects the entire body and includes stroke, peripheral artery disease (PAD), abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA), carotid artery disease (CAD), arteriovenous malformation (AVM), critical limb ischemia (CLI), pulmonary embolism (blood clots), deep vein thrombosis (DVT), chronic venous insufficiency (CVI) and varicose veins.

The American College of Cardiology and the American Health Association recommend statin medications as the best way for patients to lower their risk of developing heart disease. Statins are drugs that work to lower cholesterol levels. We encourage you to talk with your doctor or health care provider about taking a statin because the guidelines for managing high cholesterol changed in November, 2013.

Symptoms of vascular disease include:

  • Chest pain
  • Feeling light-headed or dizzy
  • Numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg
  • Sudden trouble speaking or understanding

The statewide rate of controlled vascular disease in adults is 66% for all reporting medical groups and clinics. This means 66 of 100 adult patients with vascular disease in Minnesota and neighboring areas met all three treatment goals.

Below are the statewide rates for the individual treatment goals that make up the overall vascular care report:

  • 85% of adults with vascular disease had well-controlled blood pressure
  • 64% of adults with vascular disease had well-controlled cholesterol levels
  • 83% of adults with vascular disease did not smoke or use any other form of tobacco
  • 97% of adults with vascular disease took an aspirin every day, if appropriate

High rates of controlled vascular disease can be a sign of strong clinical care. It’s important to know that small differences in percentages don’t necessarily reflect the quality of care you’ll receive with a certain medical group or clinic. It is more important to note the large differences between providers, and speak with your doctor if you have questions or concerns.

How we calculate the measure

We measure how well medical groups perform in having their adult vascular disease patients meet recommended goals for vascular care. This report is based on information from patients who visited their doctor between January 1, 2015 and December 31, 2015. The information is collected under four measure components: Blood Pressure, LDL Control, Tobacco Free and Daily Asprin Use. That data is analyzed to create this patient-level, all-or-none composite measure. The technical measure name is Vascular Disease.

Risk-adjusted measures

The information reported about this measure on MNHealthScores is risk-adjusted.

Risk adjustment is a way to make it easier to compare clinics or medical groups by accounting for the differences of specific patient groups. The process should separate the clinic/medical group’s true impact on patients’ health and allow them to be compared more easily.

MN Community Measurement uses an actual-to-expected process, which is also known as a methodology. This process does not change a clinic/medical group’s result; the actual rate remains the same. Instead, each clinic/medical group’s actual rate is compared to the rate that we expected to see, based on the different types of patient characteristics seen at that clinic/medical group.

More details about our risk adjustment methodology and the variables used for the measures reported on MNHealthScores.org can be found in the most current Health Care Quality Report.