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American Academy of Ophthalmology Announces Plans for the Nation’s First Comprehensive Eye Disease Patient Database

American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO)

July 15, 2013

In an effort to improve the quality of care for patients requiring medical and surgical care for vision loss, the American Academy of Ophthalmology today announced its plans to implement the nation's first comprehensive eye disease patient database. The initiative will enable thousands of ophthalmologists across the country to statistically review and analyze their own care and compare it to benchmarks and peer physician performance.

The IRIS™ (Intelligent Research in Sight) Registry is a centralized data repository and reporting tool that collects data from electronic health records and performs statistical analysis of aggregated, deidentified patient data to produce easy-to-interpret, national and practice-level benchmark reports. The reports can validate the quality of care ophthalmologists provide and pinpoint opportunities for improvement. 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, M.D., CEO of the American Academy of Ophthalmology. "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. Top among them is automatic participation in the Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS). 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 and 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.

The Academy 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.

"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 Academy. "By harnessing the immense capability of information technology to improve medical science, 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."

The Academy is partnering in the development of the IRIS Registry with FIGMD, Inc., the software and technology firm involved in developing and maintaining registries for both the American College of Cardiology and the American Gastroenterological Association. It is currently piloting the IRIS Registry with pre-selected, early-access users, with plans to launch the registry 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.

Early-access opportunities are still available for interested Academy members. For more information, visit or email [email protected].



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