HEDIS (Healthcare Effectiveness Data and Information Set) is a tool used by more than 90 percent of U.S. health plans to measure performance on important dimensions of care and service. HEDIS makes it possible to compare the performance of health plans. It is developed and maintained by the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) and consists of 80 measures. Health plans use HEDIS results to see where they need to focus their improvement efforts.
Chlamydia screening is a HEDIS measure because it is:
- A grade “B” U.S. Preventive Services Task Force service for women
- Cost effective
- Can prevent pelvic inflammatory disease that leads to infertility
- An indicator of adolescent and maternal health
The data on the chlamydia HEDIS measure—assessing women 16–24 years of age who were identified as sexually active and who had at least one test for chlamydia during the measurement year—for the past three years reveals significant room for improvement:
The consequences of missed opportunities to diagnose and treat chlamydia are significant. Approximately 20% of untreated chlamydia infections lead to pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), making it the leading preventable cause of tubal factor infertility in the U.S. Infection with chlamydia may also cause pregnancy complications, such as early labor, and infants can be infected during birth leading to conjunctivitis and pneumonia. The National Commission on Prevention Priorities found that 30,000 cases of pelvic inflammatory disease could be averted annually if 90% of eligible women were screened. Regular screening, as outlined by the USPSTF, is an essential tool for chlamydia prevention.