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AUA Quality Registry (AQUA) FAQs

Registry Overview

What is the AUA Quality (AQUA) Registry?
The AQUA Registry is a national Qualified Clinical Data Registry (QCDR) designed for urologists and other urologic care providers to monitor, track and report performance at both practice and provider levels.

What are the goals of the AQUA Registry?
The goal of the AQUA Registry is to advance urologic care by providing physicians with the essential infrastructure and information they need to improve their clinical practices and patient outcomes.

Is the Registry eligible for certifications and reimbursements?
The AQUA Registry meets the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services' (CMS) requirements for quality reporting and electronic health record (EHR) programs. CMS reporting would start later that year. Eligible urologists who utilize the interactive dashboard and reporting tools can receive Practice Assessment Protocol (PAP) credit for the Life Long Learning Program (formerly MOC) made available through the American Board of Urology (ABU).

What is the cost to participate?
Visit the AQUA Enrollment page to review the benefits and pricing for each subscription level.

How do I renew my AQUA Registry subscription?
The subscription renewal process begins each October for the following year with an email to the practice contact. The practice contact will then select the appropriate subscription level on the provided Appendix 2 Form. The Appendix 2 Form, along with a list of participating providers, must be emailed to AQUA@AUAnet.org by December 31.

Data

What urologic conditions are included in the AQUA Registry data?
The AUA plans to expand to other conditions in the future as new measures are developed. The AQUA Registry currently focuses on ten major urologic conditions including:

  • Prostate Cancer
  • Advanced Prostate Cancer
  • Bladder Cancer
  • Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH)
  • Urinary Stones
  • Testosterone Replacement Therapy
  • Stress Urinary Incontinence (SUI)
  • Cryptorchidism
  • Hypogonadism
  • Azoospermia
  • Vasectomy

Are data reviewed prospectively or retrospectively?
Patients are followed prospectively from the initial time of diagnosis. The extraction process may be validated by examining retrospective data, but such data will not be reported in any quality metrics.

Are you collecting identifiable data?
Yes, identifiable data are needed to comply with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services' (CMS) Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) requirements and to link with SEER and other repositories in the future. Identifiable information collected in the AQUA Registry is stored on a secure, HIPAA-compliant server with robust backup. Practices 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.

What if my patient does not want their information shared with the Registry?
Patients who would like to opt out of the AQUA Registry should let their urologist know in writing. Urologists will notify the AQUA Registry, and data for the patient will be removed going forward.

Is the AQUA Registry IRB approved?
Yes, an independent institutional review board (IRB) oversees all aspects of the AQUA Registry. The IRB waiver is available upon request.

Frequently Asked Questions about FIGmd, the AQUA Registry Vendor, and the Technical Process

What is FIGmd?
FIGmd is the technical vendor contracted by the AUA to assist with the AQUA Registry operations. To learn more about FIGmd, please visit FIGmd.com.

What is the standard integration method used by FIGmd?
FIGmd uses the data-pull model. In this scenario, FIGmd fully manages the integration process, with minimal impact on the practice. The vendor installs read-only software on the local practice's server, which queries the EHR's back-end database and extracts relevant clinical data. This software runs passively in the background, typically during off-hours, and does not affect clinical work flows or EHR performance.

What other methods 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. Additionally, a private cloud option is available for healthcare providers in larger academic and health system environments who wish to participate in the AQUA Registry, but do not want to release identified data outside their networks.

When will my data be available on the dashboard?
Once the EHR integration process is complete, it takes seven to nine weeks to extract the data and provide the practice with the first dashboard report. FIGmd reviews the data with the practice representative and makes any necessary mapping adjustments. After the initial dashboard report, three to six measures will be available for review monthly.

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 practices. Extraction times can be adjusted to comply with your internal requirements.

Where is the extracted information stored?
The Registry data are stored on Google Cloud, a secure, protected server that has been evaluated at the "moderate" level for Federal government systems. Google's security measures can be found on the Google Cloud website. Google Cloud complies with all applicable Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) regulations. AUA's utmost priority is to maintain the confidentiality of patient information.

AQUA Resources

Questions?

If you have questions or would like to directly discuss your options with AQUA, connect with one of our Registry Coordinators.
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