(ED: Looks like Big Data is coming of age!)


SAN FRANCISCO | July 8, 2013

Will draw patient data from electronic health records for care delivery analysis

The American Academy of Ophthalmology on Monday announced plans for an EHR-linked eye disease database that will enable ophthalmologists nationwide to statistically analyze and benchmark their own care.

Billed as the first such centralized repository in the nation, the Intelligent Research in Sight Registry and reporting tool gathers data from electronic health records and performs statistical analysis of aggregated, de-identified patient data to produce national and practice-level benchmark reports, say AAO officials.

These reports can validate the quality of care ophthalmologists provide and pinpoint opportunities for improvement, officials say. By assessing their quality of care rates and studying best practices, ophthalmologists can develop a strategic plan for improving patient outcomes.

“This is a fantastically powerful tool that will stimulate improved quality of eye care,” said David W. Parke II, MD, chief executive officer of the American Academy of Ophthalmology, in a press statement. “None of us went to medical school to be average physicians. We respond to data and seek tools to benchmark our own performance.”

The ophthalmology database is expected to provide other significant benefits for eye physicians and surgeons, according to AAO – most notably providing for automatic participation in the Physician Quality Reporting System.

As an approved PQRS electronic health record submission vendor, the IRIS Registry can directly and automatically extract data for PQRS measures and submit it to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services on a practice’s behalf, eliminating the need for the traditional method of ophthalmologists manually reporting their data on their Medicare claims throughout the year, officials say.

AAO plans for the IRIS Registry to expand its scope to include functions for completing the American Board of Ophthalmology’s Maintenance of Certification Practice Improvement Modules, clinical research, post-market surveillance studies of ophthalmic drugs and devices, early detection of safety signals for adverse health events and determining changes in practice patterns.

Developed in partnership with Hanover Park, Ill.-based FIGMD, Inc., which has created registries for both the American College of Cardiology and the American Gastroenterological Association, the registry is currently being with pre-selected, early-access users, with plans to launch to all practicing U.S.-based ophthalmologists in early 2014.

The Academy estimates that the IRIS Registry will be populated with more than 20 million patient records within two years.

“The IRIS Registry will represent a seminal change in how the medical specialty of ophthalmology will improve performance and outcomes, while shortening the timeline for the dissemination of important clinical knowledge, research and results of drug and device surveillance,” said William L. Rich III, MD, medical director of health policy for the AAO, in a press statement.

“By harnessing the immense capability of information technology to improve medical science,” he added, “the American Academy of Ophthalmology is providing a dynamic tool that will enable eye physicians and surgeons to gain a quantitative, evidence-based, real-time view of how ophthalmic medicine is being practiced on a national scale.”

[See also: Ophthalmologists develop MU checklist for their specialty]


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