EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR’S REPORT
In the February 2016 issue of the Bulletin, I noted that the American College of Surgeons (ACS) was engaged in an effort with QuintilesIMS to seamlessly link our clinical databases under a single platform
and build the ACS registry of the future.* This vision
begins coming to fruition with the launch of a reimag-ined ACS Surgeon Specific Registry (SSR). Although
some users had indicated that they were experiencing difficulties with the new system at press time, the
ACS leadership anticipates that the next generation
SSR will be an invaluable tool for surgeons seeking
to comply with regulatory mandates, improve their
performance, and provide the highest quality surgical
services to their patients. We are working to address
any functionality issues and are providing regular
updates on enhancements to the system.
Background on the SSR
The SSR originated as the ACS Case Log system
under the leadership of Ajit K. Sachdeva, MD, FACS,
FRCSC, Director, ACS Division of Education, and the
late Thomas R. Russell, MD, FACS, Past-Executive
Director of the College. The Case Log system was
created as a repository for surgeons seeking to maintain an electronic record of their operations. This
information could then be transmitted readily to the
American Board of Surgery (ABS) to meet requirements for board certification, recertification, and the
fledgling Maintenance of Certification (MOC) program.
The Case Log system evolved into the SSR with
guidance from Clifford Y. Ko, MD, MS, MSHS, FACS,
Director, ACS Division of Research and Optimal
Patient Care. The SSR has served as an online software application and database that allows surgeons to
track their cases and outcomes in a convenient, easy-to-use manner from their computer or mobile devices.
The SSR enables surgeons not only to log and track
their cases, but also to participate in an increasing
number of government regulations facing the individual health care professional.
In recent years, the SSR has supported ABS MOC
Part 4 mandates, which call for ongoing participation
in a local, regional, or national outcomes registry or
quality assessment program. In addition, the ACS
has worked closely with the Centers for Medicare
& Medicaid Services (CMS) to achieve and maintain
recognition of the SSR as both a Qualified Registry
and a Qualified Clinical Data Registry for the Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS), a quality
reporting program that provides payment incentives
to eligible professionals (EPs) and group practices that
report positive outcomes for certain quality metrics.
Providers that fail to report or that do not measure up
to CMS’ standards face financial penalties.
How it works
The new ACS SSR has many enhanced features.
Under the new registry platform, a single data
system will house all quality registry data. As a
result, users eventually will be able to share relevant quality data across individual ACS Quality
Programs, such as the National Surgical Quality
Improvement Program (ACS NSQIP®) and the
Trauma Quality Improvement Program (TQIP®),
and move these data into the SSR. The ability to
move the electronic health record (EHR) into the
SSR is in development, and, at present, data from
an office practice or a clinic can be uploaded into
the SSR as well, thereby minimizing the data entry
burden for surgeons. The new ACS SSR also features enhanced reporting capabilities, a mobile
device-friendly interface, delegate-level access to
enter data, and the ability to add custom fields to
collect additional variables relevant to a surgeon’s
practice efforts to provide quality care.
Changing regulatory challenges
The new SSR has launched at a time when the
Medicare physician payment system is undergoing a significant transformation. This year, CMS
begins the transition to the Quality Payment Program (QPP) established under the Medicare Access *Hoyt DB. Looking for ward. Bull Am Coll Surg. 2016;101( 2): 6-8.