Registries have begun to take new shape as medical societies and associations realize the potential value of their data. For those of you unfamiliar with what a healthcare registry is (or understandably confused by its seemingly endless number of uses), here is AHRQ’s definition: “A patient registry is an organized system that uses observational study methods to collect uniform data (clinical and other) to evaluate specific outcomes for a population defined by a particular disease, condition, or exposure, and that serves one or more predetermined scientific, clinical, or policy purposes.”

For many years, registries were created for a very singular purpose, such as PQRS reporting, benchmarking, or developing best practices for particular procedures and interventions. In our era of increased transparency and accountability, health-focused organizations have strong incentives to reduce costs and improve quality of care. This is an inherently data-driven enterprise that can be served by registries.

So, how are registries being repurposed to address the current needs of hospital administrators, physicians, and patients?

First, registries are being updated to make getting high-quality data in as easy a task as possible. This means setting up pipelines that pull data from EMR systems or spreadsheets directly into the registry database. It also means that any hand-entered data should occur through simple and intuitive interfaces.

Second, healthcare organizations are increasingly interested in using registries as sophisticated research data repositories. These registries can support multiple goals, such as quality improvement, comparative effectiveness of procedures or products, and certification for new performance measures. This is not too surprising, since once you have all of your data—and the data of your practice and your peers—in one place, it’s easy to think of new questions to ask:

  • “How does my readmission rate compare to my peers with similar patient demographics?”
  • “What is the average satisfaction rating for patients over the age of 65 undergoing physical therapy following a knee replacement?”
  • “Is there a direct correlation between cost equity and patient satisfaction for patients recovering from opiate addictions?”

Organizations that use registries designed for multiple uses have an easier time exploring the data to answer these questions.

Stay tuned as we continue to explore the changing landscape of registries in subsequent blog posts. Have you identified another trend we haven’t discussed here? Share it with us!