PRACTICE RESOURCES > AUA Quality Registry (AQUA)


AUA Quality Registry (AQUA)

AQUA - AUA Quality Registry

As part of its ongoing commitment to improving the quality of care for patients with urologic disease, the American Urological Association (AUA) recently launched the AUA Quality (AQUA) Registry.

The AQUA Registry is a national urologic disease registry designed to measure and report healthcare quality and patient outcomes. Through the aggregation and organization of both clinician- and patient-reported data on diagnostic and therapeutic interventions, outcomes and resource utilization, AQUA will provide the urologic community with a definitive resource for informing and advancing urology within the United States.

The AQUA Registry currently focuses on prostate cancer, but it will gradually expand to include other urological conditions.

"AQUA Registry can be a powerful tool for urologists to observe the course of disease; understand variations in treatment and outcomes; examine factors that influence prognosis and quality of life; describe care patterns, including appropriateness of care and disparities in delivery of care; assess effectiveness; monitor safety and harm; measure quality of care; and compare themselves with their peers."

Dr. Gopal H. Badlani, AUA Secretary

 

AQUA - AUA Quality Registry

The AUA AQUA Registry will be phased in over the next three years, expanding the number of participating practices, scope and functionality.

Phase 1 (design and testing) of the Registry began January 2014. Work during this phase focused on validating data/measures and integrating EHRs.

Phase 2 (pilot phase) began July 2014. Participating sites routinely contribute data.

The fully operational AQUA Registry is scheduled to launch July 2015.

Participation criteria will expand during each phase, so please monitor www.AUAnet.org and AUA publications for new information or contact the AQUA Registry staff:

Apply Online

Please visit www.auanet.org/applyforaqua

Email

Please email your name, practice name and contact information to aqua@AUAnet.org

Call

Reach us toll-free at 1-855-898-AQUA (2782)

AQUA - AUA Quality Registry

Requirements

To participate in the AQUA Registry, your urology practice must:

Prostate Cancer Care Provider

AQUA is a national urologic disease registry designed to provide data to help identify trends in the diagnosis and treatment of urologic conditions. As such, AQUA will initially focus on prostate cancer, as it is one of the most common conditions urologists treat, and gradually expand to include other urological conditions.

EHR System

All participating practices must use an EHR system. The Registry is designed to fit seamlessly into your clinical practice workflow and minimize the time spent on data entry.

The AUA chose this course of action because most Medicare and Medicaid providers will be required to comply with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Meaningful Use criteria by January 2015, which is the timeframe the AQUA Registry will open for wider participation.

Business Associate/Data Use and Registry Participation Agreement

Practices participating in the Registry are required to sign business associate/data use and Registry participation agreements. These forms address HIPAA requirements for the collection of patient data as well as outline what the AUA and the participating practices agree to provide.

Benefits

Benefits of participating in the AQUA Registry include:

  • Physician reimbursement support
  • National benchmarks for diagnosis and treatment
  • Cross-specialty practice pattern and outcome comparisons

Physician Reimbursement Support

As healthcare in the United States continues its rapid transition to a value-based system in which providers are paid based on treatment outcomes, quality of care, efficiency and patient satisfaction, the AQUA Registry will provide a means for providers to track these parameters.

AQUA will apply to meet CMS requirements for the Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS) and Qualified Clinical Data Registries (QCDR) and begin reporting in 2016. Participating in the registry under PQRS and QCDR will avoid reimbursement penalties from CMS.

PQRS was introduced by CMS to evaluate patient outcomes and quality of care. PQRS and QCDRs are key vehicles to automate the reporting of data to qualify for Medicare reimbursement. Private payers are also moving to collect these quality measures to evaluate providers.

National Benchmarks for Diagnosis and Treatment

To date, there are no national urologic disease registries. Prostate cancer registries exist at the University of California, San Francisco (the Cancer of the Prostate Strategic Urologic Research Endeavor, aka CaPSURE), and the University of Michigan (the Michigan Urological Surgery Improvement Collaborative, aka MUSIC).

Experience and expertise gained within the urology community from the development of these registries, combined with disease expertise of AUA leaders in prostate cancer, informed the design of the national registry at the AUA.

Cross-specialty Practice Pattern and Outcome Comparison

National data from the AQUA Registry will be used to generate regular reports summarizing local practice patterns and treatment outcomes and compare each practice's patterns with others across the nation. The reports could also be used to identify process-of-care variables that may correlate with key patient outcomes.

Data are stored on a secure, protected server and comply with all applicable regulations. The AUA's utmost priority is to maintain the confidentiality of patient information.

Costs

Participation in the Registry during the initial years is free. Any fee introduced in the future would be communicated in advance through the AUA and may be used to cover individual user access to the information system or mapping to EHR data fields.

Join

Apply Online

Please visit www.auanet.org/applyforaqua

Email

Please email your name, practice name and contact information to aqua@AUAnet.org

Call

Reach us toll-free at 1-855-898-AQUA (2782)

AQUA - AUA Quality Registry

 

The AUA Quality (AQUA) Registry
An AUA Board-Approved Initiative

Collecting Meaningful Data to Bridge the Knowledge Gaps around Urology

 

The AQUA Registry

As part of its ongoing commitment to improving the quality of care for patients with urologic disease, the AUA is developing the AUA Quality (AQUA) Registry. This is the first specialty-wide urologic registry at a national level, designed to measure and report healthcare quality and patient outcomes. It will also provide data to identify patterns, trends and outcomes in the diagnosis and treatment of prostate cancer. The AQUA Registry's clinical focus will be on the longitudinal follow-up of patients with newly diagnosed prostate cancer and include a personalized portal for patients to report self-perceived outcomes on their quality of life.

Quality Care through Comparative Evidence

Initially focusing on prostate cancer and then expanding to other urologic conditions, the AQUA Registry will, for the first time, enable urologists to review their practice patterns and outcomes in comparison with their peers. Starting in 2015, the AQUA Registry will provide urology practitioners with patient outcomes and healthcare quality metrics specific to prostate cancer using data gathered from physician and practice levels as well as patient reports. The AQUA registry will then gradually expand to include other urological conditions.

A Physician-Friendly System

The AQUA Registry is designed to be physician-friendly. With little data entry burden to physician offices staff, clinical and patient data will be extracted, transformed and loaded into the AQUA Registry from the practice sites' electronic health record system.

AQUA Data Capture Flowchart

How AQUA Registry Data Will Be Used

National and comparative data generated by the AQUA Registry will support guideline-informed physician practice, and evidence-based patient decision support mechanisms. It will provide participating urologists feedback regarding their individual- and/or practice-level performance on a range of process and outcome quality measures, benchmarked against their peers at national and regional levels. For physicians, these data will help them meet both the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services' Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS) reporting and potentially regional and national certification requirements. For government policy-makers, the AQUA Registry will provide further understanding around patient safety, costs of care and system effectiveness.

Why Urologists Should Support the AQUA Registry

The healthcare environment is transitioning from volume-based to value-based payment for care. The AQUA Registry will ensure that urologists, rather than other parties, are identifying what works best and for whom.

Privacy Policy

Identifiable information collected by the AQUA Registry will be stored in a secured area, and only participant sites can see their performance with benchmarking comparisons of national or regional statistics.

Summary

The AQUA Registry is being developed under a sophisticated information technology infrastructure and will be implemented in a phased-in manner over the next two years in terms of the number of participating practices, scope and functionality. The initial design and testing phase began at February 2014 with the participation of 10 sites. The pilot phase is expected to begin summer 2014. Through the aggregation and organization of both clinician- and patient-reported data on diagnostic and therapeutic interventions, clinical and quality of life outcomes and resource utilization, the AQUA Registry will provide the urologic community with a definitive resource for informing and advancing urology.

Preparation and Implementation Period for AQUA

For more information, please contact the AQUA Registry Team at aqua@AUAnet.org.

AQUA - AUA Quality Registry

Registry overview


What are the goals of the AQUA Registry?

The AQUA Registry's goal is to advance urologic care by providing physicians with the essential infrastructure and information they need to improve their clinical practices and patient outcomes. Initially, the registry will focus on prostate cancer; later, it will expand to other urological conditions.

Is this Registry nationwide?

Yes, the AQUA Registry is the only national, specialty-wide clinical data registry of urologic conditions in the United States.

How many sites are participating?

We will enroll 30 practice sites by the end of 2014, at least 50 by mid-2015, and at least 100 by the end of 2016. The Registry's long-term goal is to include every urologic practice in the United States.

How do I join the AQUA Registry?

Please contact AQUA@AUAnet.org or call toll free 1-855-898-AQUA (2782).

Data


Are you collecting data on newly diagnosed or established prostate cancer patients?

We are collecting data on newly diagnosed patients.

Will this be a prospective or retrospective process?

Patients will be followed prospectively from time of diagnosis. We may validate the data extraction process by examining retrospective data, but it will not be reported in any quality metrics.

Are you collecting identifiable data?

Yes, we need identifiable data to comply with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services' (CMS) Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS) requirements and to link with SEER and other repositories in the future. Identifiable information collected by the AQUA Registry is stored on a secure, HIPAA-compliant server with robust backup. Participant sites will only have access to their performance data, which will be benchmarked against comparison data aggregated at the national or regional level.

Do the patients in my practice need to provide informed consent to participate in the AQUA Registry?

No, patients do not need to provide informed consent, as the registry is considered part of quality improvement.

Is the AQUA Registry IRB approved?

Yes, an independent institutional review board (IRB) oversees the AQUA Registry. The IRB waiver is available upon request. The IRB will be modified in the future to include the patient-reported outcome portion of the registry, once it is developed.

What are the outcomes and measures?

List of outcomes and measures [pdf].

Will you provide me with templates so I know which data needs to be entered?

Yes, we have templates that you can use or modify. We expect the templates will greatly facilitate the data reporting process.

How will you pull the information that is related to the diagnosis but entered by another provider?

FIGMD pulls patient data based on the National Provider Identifier (NPI) number of AQUA's participating providers. If a patient sees two or more urologists who participate in AQUA, FIGMD will extract all of the diagnostic and treatments information from each urologist's EMR. FIGMD is currently working on a patient matching process so that it can detect and link diagnostic and treatment data from the same patients visiting multiple practices.

Participation Costs/Benefits


What are the benefits of joining the Registry?

Participant sites enjoy many benefits:

  • Comparison of cross-specialty practice patterns and outcomes
  • National benchmarks for diagnoses and treatments
  • Physician reimbursement support
  • Future Maintenance of Certification (MOC)
  • Future Meaningful Use compliance

How are outcomes reported?

Sites will access real-time data summaries using a secure login. Sites will receive individual reports and be able to benchmark their performance against regional and national peers.

What is the cost to participate?

As part of its efforts to help members promote quality care, AUA will cover the costs of the registry until 2016. Any fee that may be introduced in the future would cover individual user access to the information system.

Is this Registry eligible for certifications and reimbursements?

In 2016, the AQUA Registry will apply to meet the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services' (CMS) requirements for a Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS) and Qualified Clinical Data Registry (QCDR). CMS reporting would start later that year. In the future, AUA anticipates that members who participate in AQUA will also receive Maintenance of Certification (MOC) credits from the American Board of Urology.

How involved does the practice manager have to be in AQUA?

The practice manager will need to participate in at least two to three calls with FIGMD and/or AQUA Registry staff to review reports until the mapping process is validated and complete.

Will a nurse or physician from AQUA help review reports?

Dr. Matthew Cooperberg is the AQUA Registry's physician advisor and provides clinical expertise and insight into data collection and reporting.

Can I use my own BAA?

Yes, a site can use its own BAA, but the AUA/AQUA participation agreement must be signed.

Frequently Asked Questions about FIGMD, the AQUA Registry Vendor


What other groups or specialties does FIGMD, AQUA Registry's software vendor, work with?

FIGMD has developed and maintains clinical data registries for the American College of Cardiology and the American Academy of Ophthalmology.

Process overview


What is the standard integration method used by FIGMD?

FIGMD uses the data-pull model. In this scenario, FIGMD fully manages the reporting process, with minimal impact to the practice. The vendor installs software on the local practice's server, which queries the EMR's backend database and extracts relevant clinical data. This software runs passively in the background, typically during off-hours, and does not affect clinical workflows or EMR performance.

What is/are the other method(s) that can be used to retrieve data?

FIGMD uses the data-push scenario when the software installation is not possible. In this situation, the practice IT staff sends the Registry a file each month containing all of the required data.

How long will it take for the first initial data extraction to be completed after mapping?

Initially, it takes two to three weeks to collect the data. After data is collected, FIGMD reviews it with the practice and makes any necessary mapping adjustments.

Does the Registry require real-time access?

The Registry does not require real-time access. The data pull runs early in the morning (between midnight – 6 a.m.) so it does not inconvenience the participating sites.

How are outcomes reported?

Sites will access real-time data summaries using a secure log-in. Sites will receive individual reports and be able to benchmark their performance against regional and national peers.

What other resources are needed?

Minimal time is required; local practice IT burden is estimated to be 30-40 minutes for software installation. FIGMD works directly with each practice's IT department to complete the mapping integration process. No ongoing maintenance or effort from local clinicians or support staff is required.

Where is the extracted information stored?

The Registry data is stored on Amazon Cloud, a secure, protected server that has been evaluated at the "moderate" level for Federal government systems. A full list of Amazon's security measures, including a white paper on Amazon's security processes, can be found on the Amazon Web Services (AWS) website. AWS complies with all applicable HIPAA regulations. AUA's utmost priority is to maintain the confidentiality of patient information.

Who will work with the practice to rectify any issues with the system?

FIGMD works directly with the practice and monitors the system. If it detects a problem, FIGMD will immediately notify the practice.

EMR software


Which EMRs does FIGMD work with?

The software works with more than 60 EMR systems and can be adapted to any system with a backend database.

Will the AQUA Registry work with Epic?

Yes. AUA has several test sites with Epic EMR software.

What happens if the EMR software changes to another vendor?

FIGMD will re-adapt to the new EMR.

AQUA - AUA Quality Registry

The following is a general outline of the steps we follow for the AQUA System Integration (SI) Process. This process will take anywhere from 4-6 weeks, depending on the availability of staff at the practice and timely responses:

Initial Steps

  1. Review the participation agreement, business associate/data use agreement (BAA/DUA), and registry technical overview document with your practice.
  2. Complete the short "Apply for AQUA" registry survey.
  3. Upon submission of the completed questionnaire AQUA staff will contact you within three business days to schedule an orientation call.

System Integration Process

  1. Complete, sign, and return the participation agreement and BAA/DUA.
  2. FigMD, the AQUA IT vendor, will then send you specific instructions to allow you to download and install the AQUA Light Weight Connector (LWC) software for extracting, transforming and loading data, on the server/workstation of your choice.
  3. Connect the LWC with the EMR database.
  4. Upon completion of the installation and integration of the LWC, we will confirm connectivity and then begin data mapping.
  5. The first iteration of the mapping will be an EMR spreadsheet and a practice scorecard.
  6. When these two reports are completed, typically within a few days after we have established connectivity, we will send the reports along with some suggested meeting dates/times to schedule a meeting via conference call.
  7. In that meeting, we will review what needs to be completed with a practice representative and introduce the practice to the scorecard and its uses going forward.
  8. When we have the completed practice EMR spreadsheet returned to us, we will schedule the first data extract. This extract process will take about two weeks, and we will look to engage again via a conference call to review the data and make any necessary mapping adjustments based on information your practice may provide during the conference call.
  9. When the mapping refinements are completed, and the data quality is good, we will transition the practice from implementation status to maintenance status. If further refinements are needed, we will produce another data extract and review it together.
  10. Once the practice reaches maintenance status, you will begin receiving regular monthly and quarterly reports.
  11. In maintenance status, we will look to the practice to establish how and when they would like to proceed with any additional mapping refinements. We can continue to update and refine mapping across time to improve data and/or incorporate any changes such as an EMR version upgrade via preset conference calls, on demand conference calls, or via email exchange.
Apply for AQUA
 

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