April 19th, 2013
More than two-thirds of Medicare beneficiaries have multiple chronic conditions, such as heart disease and diabetes, and that number is projected to rise significantly in the U.S., given our aging population. The Chronic Conditions Dashboard, recently launched by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), is the first in a series of planned web-based enhanced data analytic and visualization tools.
Use of the data available from the Dashboard can help policymakers, local health leaders, and health systems improve care coordination and health outcomes, and can help slow the increase in expenditures for Medicare beneficiaries living with multiple chronic conditions. The Dashboard was developed to be user-friendly and incorporated strong health information privacy protections, as individually-identifiable information cannot be accessed. The release of the Chronic Conditions dashboard supports the Administration’s Health Data Initiative that seeks to release more health-related data in more usable formats to support health promotion and care innovation.
In 2010, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services launched its Initiative on Multiple Chronic Conditions to promote a more coordinated and comprehensive approach to improving outcomes in people living with multiple chronic conditions. The Initiative’s centerpiece is the HHS Strategic Framework on Multiple Chronic Conditions, a national roadmap to help improve coordination between agencies and external stakeholders to improve the quality of life for those with multiple chronic conditions.
The Dashboard supports the Framework’s goal for research to fill critical knowledge gaps about individuals with multiple chronic conditions. Because the Dashboard provides access to customizable data for 2011 for approximately 31 million fee-for-service Medicare beneficiaries, users can — for the first time — examine multiple chronic conditions at geographic levels (national, state, and 306 hospital referral regions) and for different Medicare populations (including persons who are dually-eligible for Medicaid and those with disabilities).
Analytics available from the Dashboard — such as the ability to examine geographic variations — paint a vivid picture of the chronic disease burden in the Medicare population. For example, researchers, policymakers, and state and local health leaders can identify specific areas that have a higher or lower prevalence of multiple chronic conditions, as well as whether these areas have higher or lower Medicare utilization and costs. We believe this information could help catalyze further research on specific factors underlying these chronic conditions patterns, such as differences in distributions of underlying risk factors like smoking and obesity among the populations, differences in the combinations and types of chronic conditions, or differences in the way care is delivered both locally and nationwide.
The map below provides a snapshot of the readily accessible data available in the Dashboard. The example is a display of the state-to-national ratio for 30-day hospital readmission rates for Medicare beneficiaries with six or more chronic conditions.
Health care professionals need data that characterizes the patient populations at greatest risk for health care services and data to identify the principal drivers of high costs, such as preventable hospital readmissions and emergency department visits. The Dashboard fills this gap by enabling state and local health leaders to better identify specific populations and geographic areas where more coordinated and comprehensive approaches to prevention and treatment can be delivered to persons with multiple chronic conditions. Effective use of the Dashboard can help guide the management of chronic conditions, improve health outcomes, and the slow the rise in costs.
CMS’s Medicare Chronic Conditions Chartbooks and other reports may be accessed here.Email This Post Print This Post
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