American Academy of Ophthalmology Launches IRIS Registry to Aggregate Patient Data

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SAN FRANCISCO—The American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) announced the official March 25 launch of the IRIS Registry (Intelligent Research in Sight), the first comprehensive eye disease and condition registry in the U.S. By aggregating patient data from electronic health records (EHR), the centralized data repository performs statistical analysis that enables ophthalmologists to improve patient care, reduce the cost and enhance the speed of some large clinical trials, assist in monitoring resource utilization, comply with federal payment programs, and enhance quality and practice efficiency, according to a statement from the AAO.

Already, 2,300 physicians in 47 states are participating in the IRIS registry, according to the AAO, having signed up during a limited rollout, which began in 2013, as reported by VMail July 10, 2013. The ophthalmology registry currently holds more than five million patient records and is expected to ultimately house more than 20 million in two years.

"This is a watershed moment for the field of ophthalmology," said David W. Parke II, MD, CEO of the American Academy of Ophthalmology. "We as physicians find ourselves able to harness the power of many millions of pieces of clinical information in order to make evidence-based decisions in a fraction of the time it would have taken 10 years ago."

The IRIS Registry will enable clinical benchmarking at the practice, regional and national level. Ophthalmologists can monitor patient care, track interventions and evaluate outcomes across different populations. Its subspecialty modules were designed to help analyze how different pre-existing conditions, risk factors, severity of disease, and demographics such as age and gender affect outcomes for age-related macular degeneration, cataract surgery, diabetic retinopathy and retinal surgery.

"The power of aggregated data cannot be underestimated," said William L. Rich III, MD, AAO medical director of health policy. "We're going to see a rapid evolution in medical research as a result of the IRIS Registry."

The IRIS Registry is now available for open enrollment to all U.S.-based AAO members and their practices. Those who sign up by June 1 and meet reporting requirements can use the IRIS Registry to report 2014 clinical quality data to the Physician Quality Reporting System and the Medicare EHR Incentive Program. For EHR users, the IRIS Registry will automatically extract and submit data for PQRS measures to the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services on a practice's behalf, eliminating the need to manually report on Medicare claims throughout the year. Currently, the IRIS Registry integrates with 18 EHRs and is expected to receive approval this spring as a certified EHR technology vendor.