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    First national urology-wide registry gathers steam

    AQUA Registry designed to ease CMS reporting requirements, improve patient care

    The AUA-sponsored AQUA Registry is gaining momentum as more U.S. urologists choose to sign on with the first national urology-wide registry for quality reporting and more.

    J. Stuart Wolf, Jr., MDDr. WolfThe overarching goal of the AQUA Registry (AUA Quality Registry) is to enhance the quality of urologic care, says J. Stuart Wolf, Jr, MD, who chairs the AUA’s Science and Quality Council.

    “There are secondary goals also. We hope it can be used to provide insight into urologic practice. We hope to inform some of our policy decisions based upon what’s happening with managing certain diseases. There’s an educational aspect to it too,” said Dr. Wolf, professor and associate chair for clinical integration and operations in the department of surgery and perioperative care at Dell Medical School of the University of Texas, Austin.

    Read: Has the USPSTF gone far enough with its new PCa grade?

    The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has approved the AQUA Registry as a Qualified Clinical Data Registry (QCDR) since 2016, which means urologists can use it to satisfy federal reporting requirements (Physician Quality Reporting System [PQRS] in 2016 and the Merit-Based Incentive Payment System [MIPS] in 2017).

    AQUA providers by state

    “The AQUA Registry should make meeting those requirements as easy as possible. I don’t think anyone would consider this an easy process, but on the other hand, compared to some of the alternatives, certainly [the AQUA Registry is] easier and more meaningful,” said J. Quentin Clemens, MD, who until the end of May 2017 is chair of the AUA Data Committee, which oversees the AQUA Registry.

    J. Quentin Clemens, MDDr. ClemensAdvanced Alternative Payment Models (APMs), which offer another way of meeting these requirements, are generally what hospitals and other health care systems or groups use to manage patient populations. APMs assess their quality of care and the cost, according to Dr. Clemens.

    “Those tend to be for larger groups and the quality measures tend to be more broad—frankly, not really focusing on urology,” said Dr. Clemens, professor of urology at the University of Michigan Medical Center, Ann Arbor.

    An example of how urologists might use the AQUA Registry in practice is to measure PSA testing at certain intervals after prostatectomy, according to Dr. Wolf. The registry will track a provider’s practice for that measure and post the results periodically on the practice dashboard. If a provider only has obtained PSAs on 65% of surgical patients and the national average is 85%, that provider might up his or her game, Dr. Wolf said.

    Next: Expanding conditions, applications

    Lisette Hilton
    Lisette Hilton is a writer in Boca Raton, Fla., who heads up her company, Words Come Alive.


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