• Improving Safety by Measuring What We Do: The Potential Role of the IRIS Registry

    The challenge of treating more patients in less time while staying abreast of medical advances is daunting, according to Michael Chiang, MD, AAO IRIS Registry Executive Committee. For ophthalmologists, the IRIS Registry can play a significant role in improving patient safety. It can measure the continuum of care from initial contact with the patient through any interventions as well as follow-up visits.

    The research analysis derived from the registry helps to develop standards that are used to formulate guidelines to program the computers that provide dashboard guidance on safe patient care for doctors. Gaps in care can be identified from the research data and doctors can improve their performance accordingly. The Academy’s IRIS Registry is currently available to U.S.-based Academy members and enables them to compare their care processes, patient outcomes, and professional performance with other ophthalmologists in the country.

    For example, cataract surgery is considered to be a “safe” procedure. Data from the IRIS Registry in its first year indicated that 2% of cataract surgeries required additional procedures within 30 days. During the second year of the IRIS Registry, such incidences decreased to 1%. This type of improvement is not unprecedented in medical care. Long-term cohort studies like the Framingham Heart Study have helped us to understand the natural history and risk factors of heart disease.

    Similarly, long-term data from the IRIS Registry could help improve patient care in ophthalmology. Another important factor to consider is that EHRs are not used in a standard manner by everyone – some have check boxes whereas others require manual data entry. This may lead to inconsistencies in documentation. Therefore, it is important to enhance feedback of physicians’ performance and improve the collaborative effort for patient safety.