Statin Therapy for Prevention and Treatment of Cardiovascular Disease (CVD): An Electronic Clinical Quality Measure (eCQM)-derived CDS


This artifact provides statin therapy recommendations for primary and secondary prevention of CVD for patients considered to be at high risk of cardiovascular events. It is derived from the annually updated CMS quality measure ID CMS347 but the logic in this artifact is not time-related.

Creation Date
Unique Identifier
CDS 006

Artifact Creation and Usage


This artifact was developed by MITRE software engineers and clinical informaticists, in collaboration with clinical subject matter experts from the eCQM developer (Quality Insights of Pennsylvania) and the AHRQ sponsored Cholesterol Management Work Group.

Additional information about MITRE's health expertise is available here.

If you would like further information, would like to give us feedback, or have any questions about this artifact, please contact us at ClinicalDecisionSupport@ahrq.hhs.gov.

IP Attestation The author asserts that this artifact has been developed in compliance with the intellectual property rights attributed to the source material.
Implementation Details
Engineering Details
This CDS logic is expressed using Health Level Seven International (HL7) Clinical Quality Language (CQL) and the HL7 Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FHIR) data model. All value sets referenced in the logic are published on the Value Set Authority Center (VSAC). Additional details about these resources can be accessed via the following URLs:
     CQL: https://ecqi.healthit.gov/cql
     FHIR DSTU2: https://www.hl7.org/fhir/DSTU2/index.html
     FHIR R4: https://hl7.org/fhir/R4/index.html 
     VSAC: https://vsac.nlm.nih.gov/
Repository Information
Approval Date
Publication Date
Last Review Date
Knowledge Level

Structured code that is interpretable by a computer (includes data elements, value sets, logic)

Purpose and Usage

CDS logic evaluates a patient's presence in one of 3 high risk groups for ASCVD and provides statin therapy recommendations if exclusions do not apply. eCQM specifications (which align with the 2018 ACC/AHA guidelines) specify the high risk groups as:

  • All patients with an active diagnosis of clinical ASCVD or ever had an ASCVD procedure.
  • Patients aged >= 20 years at the beginning of the measurement period who have ever had a laboratory result of LDL-cholesterol (LDL-C) >=190 mg/dL or were previously diagnosed with or currently have an active diagnosis of familial hypercholesterolemia.
  • Patients aged 40 to 75 years at the beginning of the measurement period with type 1 or type 2 diabetes.
Intended Population

Individuals at risk of a CVD event by virtue of specific risk factors.


This artifact is intended to be used by providers in the context of outpatient encounters


The quality measure from which this artifact is derived looks for patients who are taking statins or have been ordered statins, irrespective of intensity. The 2018 ACC/AHA guideline recommendations list specific statin intensities for each risk group (based on the average expected LDL-C response to a specific statin and dose). While recognizing that statin intensity is an important component of cholesterol management, the measure developer considered assessment of appropriate intensity and dosage as adding too much complexity to the measure (given unique circumstances for each individual patient). The CQL logic is structured to enable implementers to replace recommendation messages with more specific statin intensity notifications, if desired. At present, the recommendation messages align with eCQM specifications (i.e., to consider initiation of a low, moderate or high intensity statin).

This artifact does not consider all statin therapy benefit groups, such as individuals with certain levels of estimated 10 year ASCVD risk.

Note: This artifact is derived from CMS 347v6, which was derived from the 2018 ACC/AHA Management of Blood Cholesterol guideline. The ACC/AHA released new guidelines for the Management of Blood Cholesterol in 2018. This CMS 347v6 logic incorporates those guidelines and is different from v4 in significant ways including new populations and definitions. The 2018 guidelines can be accessed here.

Additional information and resources: CDS Connect artifacts are not “standalone” and are not intended to be completely plug-and-play (i.e., healthcare systems will need to integrate each artifact with components of their health information technology [IT] system for the artifact to work). CQL Services, an open source publicly available tool that facilitates integration of CQL code with a health IT system, can be used by organizations that build out a coded expression of this artifact for pilot implementation in their healthcare organization. CQL Services is available here. This artifact has not been piloted in a clinical setting. Implementers should conduct extensive testing, including clinical testing in real-life workflows, of all artifacts. It is expected that artifacts will be customized and adapted to local clinical and IT environments.

Supporting Evidence
Source Description

This artifact was derived from CMS 347v6: Statin Therapy for the Prevention and Treatment of Cardiovascular Disease.


Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. eCQI Resource Center. CMS 347v6: Statin Therapy for the Prevention and Treatment of Cardiovascular Disease (available here). 

2018 AHA/ACC/AACVPR/AAPA/ABC/ACPM/ADA/AGS/APhA/ASPC/NLA/PCNA Guideline on the Management of Blood Cholesterol: A Report of the American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association Task Force on Clinical Practice Guidelines (available here).


The CMS eCQM347v6 does not provide a recommendation; rather it provides criteria for measurement of performance.

Strength of Recommendation

Although the eCQM specifications were derived from ACC/AHA Graded recommendations, the eCQM specifications themselves, do not have a designated 'Strength of Recommendation'. A Technical Expert Panel advising on measure development provided recommendation, which represents a minimum performance requirement for statin prescription and does not take into account statin therapy intensity. See Cautions.

Quality of Evidence


Artifact Decision Notes

Decision notes, including those describing how eCQI numerator, denominator, exclusions, and exceptions are translated into this artifact's inclusions and exclusions are outlined in Appendix A in the attached Implementation Guide.


Artifact Representation
  • Trigger Type: Named event
  • Trigger Event: Provider opens an outpatient encounter

Meets one of the 3 named populations:

Population 1:
ASCVD (active diagnosis or previous ASCVD procedure)
Population 2:
Age >=20
AND LDL-C >=190 mg/dL at any point in time (fasting or direct LDL-C test)
OR Familial Hypercholesterolemia
Population 3:
Patient is >=40 and <=75 years
AND Diabetes (Type 1 or 2)
AND NOT LDL-C >=190 mg/dL at any point in time (fasting or direct LDL-C test)
AND NOT ASCVD OR Familial Hypercholesterolemia
Breastfeeding OR Breastfeeding Observation within the past year
OR Rhabdomyolysis
OR Adverse effect, allergy, or intolerance to statin medications
OR Hepatitis A OR Hepatitis B
OR Cirrhosis OR elevated ALT > 150 (> 3 x's normal limit)
OR Receiving palliative or hospice care
OR Already receiving a statin medication  (Medication Active or Medication Order during the past year)
OR statin-associated muscle symptoms
Interventions and Actions

DISPLAY notification to provider:

  1. Recommendation:
    • Population 1 Message (Regardless of Pregnancy Status): Consider a statin for this patient. Criterion: ASCVD. Note: Benefit is not clearly demonstrated for patients over 75 years old. Exclusions may apply.
    • Population 2 Message (Regardless of Pregnancy Status): Consider a statin for this patient. Criterion: >=20 years old with at least one LDL-C >=190 mg/dL in the past, or active diagnosis of familial hypercholesterolemia. Note: Evaluate comorbidities, safety considerations, and priorities of care before considering a statin for patients over > 75 years old. Exclusions may apply.
    • Population 3a Message (Not Pregnant): Consider a statin for this patient. Criterion: 40-75 years old with diabetes. Exclusions may apply.
    • Population 3b Message (Pregnant): Consider a statin for this patient. Criterion: 40-75 years old with diabetes. Exclusions may apply. Note: The FDA has updated its guidance on statins which are no longer contraindicated in pregnancy. Indications include ASCVD and familial hypercholesterolemia. Other diagnoses require an individual risk/benefit decision.
  2. Error Message When Missing Data Prevents CDS From Being Processed
    • Missing LDL: "Guidelines for recommending statins cannot be processed because the patient has had no LDL-C result in the past three years. Consider obtaining an LDL-C test."
    • Missing age: "Inadequate data to assess recommendations for statins, because patient age is missing"
 DISPLAY link to eCQM specifications: https://ecqi.healthit.gov/ecqm/ec/2023/cms347v6
 DISPLAY link to statin shared decision-making tool (e.g. Mayo Clinic Shared Decision Making National Resource Center Statin/Aspirin Choice Decision Aid)
 REQUEST medication order for indicated statin intensity
 DOCUMENT any new medication (i.e. statin) on the active medication list
 DOCUMENT provider response if a reason for not prescribing a statin is provided (e.g., incorrect conditions captured, patient already on statin, patient has undocumented resistance, patient declines)
 DOCUMENT diagnosis consistent with artifact exclusions
 DOCUMENT therapy consistent with artifact exclusions
 DOCUMENT allergy/intolerance/sensitivity consistent with artifact exclusions
Testing Experience
Pilot Experience

This artifact has not been tested in a clinical setting.