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  • Together, We’re Mining Data to Improve Patient Outcomes

    “We at Massachusetts Eye and Ear are excited to be among the first academic institutions to send electronic medical record data to the IRIS Registry,” said Han-Ying Peggy Chang, MD. “The IRIS Registry offers academic institutions everywhere a unique opportunity to use large-scale electronic medical record data for the study of diseases and their treatment outcomes, which will ultimately help to improve patient care.” (Photo by Garyfallia Pagonis)

    FOR THE FIRST TIME, ophthalmologists have a data-driven tool — the IRIS® Registry (Intelligent Research in Sight) — to improve patient care. With support from the Foundation, in just a few short years, it’s become the largest registry in all of medicine. The significance is profound. We’re now able to extrapolate data from millions of records in a fraction of the time it would have taken 10 years ago. By having the ability to immediately apply the knowledge from this data in our practice, we are improving patient outcomes at a pace never seen before.

    Since the beginning of 2014, U.S. Academy member ophthalmologists using the IRIS Registry have submitted data on millions of patients with common eye diseases, including openangle glaucoma, cataracts, age-related macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy. And its reach continues to grow, providing ophthalmologists with clinical benchmarks and practice patterns on more than 37 million U.S. patients and 148 million patient visits as of July 1, 2017.

    Approximately 16,000 physicians who are registered for the IRIS Registry can now use this data to assess their quality of care and to ease compliance with Medicare reporting requirements. Ophthalmologists avoided penalties of more than $17 million in 2014, $73 million in 2015 and $95 million in 2016 by using the IRIS Registry to participate in the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ Physician Quality Reporting System. For 2017, that amount is estimated to be $100 million.

    IRIS Registry users span all practice types, from solo practitioners to large institutions, including nine ophthalmology departments. The registry’s influence continues to expand rapidly. Alongside other sources of data, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is now evaluating use of the IRIS Registry to establish a new eye health surveillance system that would provide population estimates of vision loss, eye diseases, eye health disparities, and barriers and facilitators to care.

    “It’s apparent how you will be able to use this data to change the way you practice,” said George A. Williams, MD. “And I really believe it’s going to make us all better doctors.”

    Together, we can continue to positively impact patient outcomes. All of this accumulation of data means better care for our patients. Physicians can measure the continuum of care from initial patient contact through intervention and follow-up. And they can produce easy-to-interpret, national and inter-practice benchmark reports to gain meaningful insights and make practice improvements.