New reporting option enables ophthalmology to develop measures that can capture the true value of medical and surgical eye care
SAN FRANCISCO — The American Academy of Ophthalmology today announced that its IRIS™ Registry – the nation's only comprehensive, longitudinal eye disease and condition database – has been recognized by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) as an approved vehicle for enhanced federal quality reporting. The ophthalmic database has received two important Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS) designations – a qualified registry and a qualified clinical data registry (QCDR). These approvals represent key milestones in the Academy's ongoing efforts to harness the power of information technology to help improve and innovate patient care.
A centralized data repository and reporting tool that aggregates and analyzes patient data from electronic health records (EHRs), the IRIS (Intelligent Research in Sight) Registry helps eye physicians and surgeons streamline the work required to comply with federal payment programs while identifying ways to enhance care quality and practice efficiency. The qualified registry designation confirms that the IRIS Registry can be used by practices to automatically collect and report clinical data for PQRS and cataracts measures. In contrast, a qualified clinical data registry allows users to report on quality measures across multiple payers and is not limited to Medicare beneficiaries or measures within PQRS.
Advocated by the Academy and signed into law by President Barack Obama in 2013, the qualified clinical data registry reporting option is a new standard through which physicians can satisfy PQRS requirements, receive PQRS incentive payments and avoid future program penalties. It allows the design, implementation and reporting of non-PQRS quality measures, which will be more valuable to specialty practices and their specific patient populations. Currently, there are limited PQRS measures available for ophthalmology, in particular for subspecialties such as oculoplastics, neuro-ophthalmology and refractive surgery.
"Securing these designations is a significant milestone for the medical specialty of ophthalmology," said William L. Rich III, M.D., medical director of health policy for the American Academy of Ophthalmology. "Through the IRIS Registry, ophthalmology now has the power to design specialty-specific measures that will enhance the value of CMS quality reporting and help improve patient outcomes."
In addition to automated federal quality reporting, the IRIS Registry includes the ability for clinical benchmarking at the practice, regional and national level. The ophthalmic database enables physicians to monitor patient care, track interventions and evaluate outcomes across different populations. Its subspecialty modules can help analyze how different pre-existing conditions, risk factors, severity of disease, and demographics affect outcomes for age-related macular degeneration, cataract surgery, diabetic retinopathy and retinal surgery. It can also help reduce the cost and enhance the speed of some large clinical trials.
Officially launched in March 2014, the IRIS Registry is the first of its kind in any U.S. medical specialty. It is being enthusiastically received by ophthalmologists, with close to 4,000 physicians across the country already participating. The IRIS Registry currently holds more than 7 million patient records. It is expected to ultimately house more than 20 million within two years. Physicians and eye surgeons who participate and share data using the IRIS Registry will benefit from the growing body of knowledge it contains as they review their own performance against benchmarks.
The IRIS Registry is available for open enrollment to all U.S.-based Academy members and their practices. Those who sign an agreement and integrate their EHR with the IRIS Registry in 2014 qualify for multi-year, fee-free access. Eligible physicians who signed up by June 1 and meet reporting requirements can use the IRIS Registry to report 2014 clinical quality data for PQRS and the Medicare EHR Incentive Program. For EHR users, the IRIS Registry is designed to be interoperable with any EHR and will automatically extract and submit data for PQRS measures to the CMS on a practice's behalf, eliminating the need to manually report on Medicare claims throughout the year. For those members who missed the June 1 deadline, the IRIS Registry can still be used to report claims manually, rather than using an EHR.
For more information, including frequently asked questions, webinars, videos and sign-up details, visit www.aao.org/irisregistry.
About the American Academy of Ophthalmology
The American Academy of Ophthalmology, headquartered in San Francisco, is the world's largest association of eye physicians and surgeons — Eye M.D.s — with more than 32,000 members worldwide. Eye health care is provided by the three "O's" – ophthalmologists, optometrists, and opticians. It is the ophthalmologist, or Eye M.D., who has the education and training to treat it all: eye diseases, infections and injuries, and perform eye surgery. For more information, visit www.aao.org. The Academy's EyeSmart® program educates the public about the importance of eye health and empowers them to preserve healthy vision. EyeSmart provides the most trusted and medically accurate information about eye diseases, conditions and injuries. OjosSanos™ is the Spanish-language version of the program. Visit www.geteyesmart.org or www.ojossanos.org to learn more.