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Registries Continue to Give More Opportunities for Clinicians to Meet Reporting Requirements

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The number of CMS-approved Qualified Clinical Data Registries grew by 40% in 2018, allowing specialties to have more opportunities to report on meaningful quality measures.

New Avalere analysis finds that clinicians have 67% more quality measures available to them in 2018 for reporting under the Merit-based Incentive Program (MIPS) through Qualified Clinical Data Registries (QCDRs). In February, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released their 2018 list of eligible QCDRs. In 2018, 45 new registries were granted a QCDR designation, bringing the total number of QCDRs to 158, a 40% increase from 2017. Through these QCDRs, clinicians have 380 more quality measures available for reporting in 2018 than in 2017.

Under MIPS, a clinician’s Medicare payments are based on performance in four categories: quality, practice improvement activities, cost, and implementation of meaningful use components. Clinicians can submit this data to CMS through several methods, including a QCDR, which is a CMS-approved entity that collects data from clinicians and submits it to CMS on their behalf.

“The increase in QCDRs in 2018 provides clinicians new opportunities to address unmet needs in areas like mental and behavioral health and orthopedic surgery,” said Nelly Ganesan, senior director at Avalere Health. “QCDRs will enable more clinicians-especially specialists-to meet their MIPS requirements by making more measures available for reporting.”

Growth in quality measures

Nearly 40% of the measures in the 2018 QCDR list are focused on outcomes, which is consistent with CMS’ desire to address aspects of care that are more meaningful to patients and caregivers (as expressed in CMS’ Meaningful Measures initiative). New measures addressing patient-reported outcomes, better communication and shared-decision making include:

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“Given MACRA’s recent measure development funding announcement and its requirement to ‘test’ measures, the utility of QCDRs may offer a solution to the challenge measure developers have faced historically when it comes to testing and piloting measures in a variety of care settings,” said Kristi Mitchell, senior vice president at Avalere Health. “QCDRs also provide clinicians with a way to track improvement in real time versus claims measures which showcased a lag before seeing results of measure performance.”

In addition to CMS’ Annual Call for Measures, engaging with a medical society or third-party vendor to submit measures to a QCDR is yet another avenue to ensure that clinicians have ample opportunities to meet the quality reporting requirement under MIPS.


Avalere reviewed the 2018 QCDR list released by CMS on December 28, 2017. Avalere identified all the individual measures tagged to each specialty-set in comparison the 2017 list and noted differences, growth in measurement and validity of new QCDR entities. This press release was developed based on publicly available content from the agency’s website.

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