Measure of the Month: Statin Therapy

February is American Heart Month, a time when individuals are reminded to focus on their heart health. February 2 was National Wear Red Day, when you probably saw many people wearing red to raise awareness about cardiovascular disease (CVD), the leading cause of death in the United States.

The Kentuckiana Health Collaborative added two measures to 2017 reporting to reflect the importance of caring for the heart – Statin Therapy for Patients with Cardiovascular Disease and Statin Therapy for Patients with Diabetes. These measures replaced Persistence of Beta-Blocker Treatment after a Heart Attack, which KHC Measurement Strategy Team members decided to discontinue because of low volume of data.

Statin Therapy for Patients with Cardiovascular Disease. This measures the proportion of patients with a diagnosis of clinical atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD) who were given a statin medication to lower LDL cholesterol. There are two rates reported for this measure – whether the individual was dispensed a high- or moderate-intensity statin medication, and whether the individual remained on that statin medication for at least 80 percent of the treatment period. Men at least 21 years old with ASCVD and women at least 40 years old with ASCVD are encouraged to take a statin medication.

Statin Therapy for Patients with Diabetes. This measure looks at statin medication for patients with diabetes that do not have cardiovascular disease. Individuals with diabetes are at a higher risk for developing cardiovascular disease, thought to be due in part to elevations in unhealthy cholesterol levels. The main difference between this measure and the measure above is the intensity of the statin dispensed. While the CVD measure looks for high- or moderate-intensity statin medication, diabetes patients can be dispensed a statin of any intensity and still meet the criteria for the measure.

For more information on Statin Therapy for CVD or Statin Therapy for Diabetes, along with information about hundreds of other measures, you can go to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality’s National Quality Measures Clearinghouse website.