The American Academy of Ophthalmology has announced the official launch of the IRIS Registry, or Intelligent Research in Sight, the nation's first comprehensive eye disease and condition registry.

The centralized data repository and reporting tool aggregates patient data from electronic health records and 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.

"The IRIS Registry is the first of its kind in any U.S. medical specialty, and the nation's only comprehensive, longitudinal, outpatient-focused clinical data registry for ophthalmology," AAO officials said in a written statement announcing the registry's launch.

"Physicians and eye surgeons who participate and share data using the IRIS Registry will benefit from the growing body of knowledge it houses as they review their own performance against benchmarks,” according to the statement. “Already, 2,300 physicians in 47 states nationwide are participating in the IRIS Registry, having signed up during a limited rollout, which began in 2013. The ophthalmology registry currently holds more than 5 million patient records and is expected to ultimately house more than 20 million in two years."

Among its benefits, the academy says the registry includes the ability for clinical benchmarking at the practice, regional and national level. In addition, it was designed to be interoperable with any EHR, from which it automatically syncs data rather than requiring manual entry. It currently integrates with 18 EHRs and is expected to receive approval this spring as a certified EHR technology vendor.

The IRIS Registry is now available for open enrollment to all U.S.-based AAO members and their practices. Eligible physicians 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 and Medicaid Services on a practice's behalf, eliminating the need to manually report on Medicare claims throughout the year.

Finally, ophthalmologists can use the IRIS Registry to 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.

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