At-Home Diagnostic Testing
Improve HEDIS and Star Scores with Dried Blood Spot Cards
This blog explores the role of dried blood spot cards in enhancing both HEDIS and Star scores. These filter paper cards, designed for convenient blood sample collection, offer a versatile solution for a range of healthcare applications. From newborn screening to therapeutic drug monitoring and disease surveillance, DBS cards have proven instrumental. Learn how leveraging DBS cards strategically can not only boost HEDIS and Star scores but also revolutionize patient care and outcomes in the process.
What are HEDIS Scores?
The Healthcare Effectiveness Data and Information Set (HEDIS) is an improvement tool to measure healthcare performance. It is used by more than 90% of health plans and tracks quality of care that plans and providers deliver to patients in the United States across six domains:
- Effectiveness of Care
- Access/Availability of Care
- Experience of Care
- Utilization and Risk Adjusted Utilization
- Health Plan Descriptive Information
- Measures Reported Using Electronic Clinical Data Systems
Each year, the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) collects reported HEDIS data and issues relevant scores.
What are Star Ratings?
Medicare Star Ratings use information from member satisfaction surveys, plans, and health care providers to measure how well Medicare programs and plan D prescription drug programs perform. Published every October by The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), Medicare Star Ratings help patients verify which plans provide high quality care—with 1 being the lowest score and 5 being the highest score.
How do dried blood spot cards work?
Dried blood spot (DBS) cards are filter paper cards used to collect and store small volumes of blood samples for various laboratory tests. These cards offer a convenient method for sample collection, especially in remote or resource-limited settings. The advantages of DBS cards include ease of collection, minimal invasiveness, and the ability to store samples at room temperature, reducing the need for cold chain transportation.
Chat with Ash Wellness about launching an at-home testing program to improve your HEDIS and Star scores.
What tests can be run on dried blood spot cards?
Providers can use DBS cards to screen patients for a variety of tests and healthcare verticals, such as:
- Newborn Screening: DBS cards are commonly used to screen newborns for various genetic and metabolic disorders. A small blood sample is collected from a baby's heel onto the DBS card, dried, and then sent to a laboratory for analysis.
- Disease Surveillance: In epidemiological studies and population screening efforts, DBS cards facilitate the collection, storage, and transportation of blood samples for disease surveillance. This method is particularly valuable in areas where access to traditional blood collection methods is challenging.
- Therapeutic Drug Monitoring: DBS cards are used for monitoring drug levels in patients undergoing treatment. The dried blood spots can be analyzed to assess the concentration of drugs in the bloodstream, helping healthcare professionals adjust medication dosages.
- HIV and Infectious Disease Testing: DBS cards are employed for HIV and other infectious disease testing, providing a convenient way to collect and transport blood samples for diagnostic purposes. Providers can also use DBS cards to complete medication adherence requirements for the HIV prevention drug PrEP.
- Research Studies: Researchers use DBS cards in various clinical and population-based studies to collect blood samples efficiently. The dried blood spots can be stored for extended periods, allowing for retrospective analysis.
How can dried blood spot cards boost HEDIS and Star scores?
Health plans, hospitals, and providers that rely on high HEDIS and Star scores to attract and maintain patients can use dried blood spot card testing to reach relevant benchmarks.
- Medication Adherence: Medication adherence is a fundamental aspect of patient care, and involves adherence to prescribed medication regimens, including dosage, timing, and frequency. This commitment to adherence is paramount for achieving optimal treatment outcomes across diverse health conditions. Medicare Star Ratings calculate patient medication adherence to certain drugs, such as those for cholesterol or hypertension. HEDIS scores also take into account patient medication adherence rates. DBS cards can help patients complete required labs in a timely fashion to prevent interruptions to medication consumption and overall adherence.
- Population Screening: Health plans can improve HEDIS scores through preventative screening efforts, such as those directed at kidney health for diabetes patients. HEDIS encourages providers to track Glomerular filtration rate and record how well kidneys remove waste, toxins, and extra fluid. Providers can screen impacted populations through the annual distribution of DBS cards through the mail.
- Diabetes Care: HEDIS guidelines encourage providers to indicate the date when an HbA1c test was performed and the result or finding. Medicare Star Ratings also prioritize diabetes care and measure the percent of diabetic plan members who were screened for HbA1c during the year that showed their average blood sugar is under control (< 9%). Providers can submit DBS cards to patient homes to conduct remote HbA1c tests and improve patient outcomes while also boosting HEDIS and Star ratings.
At-home diagnostics from Ash Wellness can improve HEDIS and Star scores
Ash Wellness can help clients boost their HEDIS score and Star rating through the implementation of comprehensive at-home diagnostics programs for hospitals and clinics, accountable care organizations, and consumer or state health plans. We offer 150+ types of diagnostic tests, including those that screen for HbA1 levels, STIs, colorectal cancer, and allergies. Our national network of CLIA/CAP certified labs, provider or record API, white-labeled kitting capabilities, and digital tools make it easy for clients to launch new programs in a matter of weeks.
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