March 08, 2018

10 Years of Advancing Quality Improvement

In 2018, the ACR National Radiology Data Registry (NRDR®), marks its 10th anniversary. For a decade, NRDR has been building a trove of benchmarking information to help radiology practices improve patient care and make metrics-driven business decisions.

NRDR is a set of databases used to track radiology quality. Practices contribute a standardized set of information based on each database’s requirements — from radiation dose to turnaround times to mammography audit information and other measures. NRDR then aggregates the data and provides comparative feedback information based on participating facilities and practices around the country.

NRDR’s benchmarking data enables quality and practice leaders to make data-driven decisions to improve their practices and optimize patient care.

The registries allow practices to track quality measures over time and gauge their performance. The longer a practice uses NRDR, the more valuable it becomes as a tool and a database. By comparing their results to industry-wide metrics, radiologists can show how they’re committed to quality improvement.

History of NRDR

The idea of a national registry for radiology began with the creation of the National Oncologic PET Registry in 2006. At that time, CMS required practices to participate in a clinical quality registry as a condition of reimbursement for certain types of PET scans. CMS was looking to the registry to show that the use of PET scans informed a physician’s decision about treatment, which would demonstrate that PET scans were a valuable tool.

ACR quickly recognized the opportunity to set up a radiology quality registry, much like the registries that already existed with other specialties, such as those in cardiology and thoracic surgery.

And so, NRDR officially began. In 2008, the ACR created two practice-based registries — CT Colonography Registry and General Radiology Improvement Database — followed by the National Mammography Database in 2009 and the Dose Index Registry in 2011.

More recently, the ACR added the Lung Cancer Screening Registry (approved by CMS to meet quality reporting requirements for Medicare CT lung cancer screening reimbursement) and the collaborative ACR/Society of Interventional Radiology IR Registry.

NRDR Today

NRDR has also progressed along with the times, especially in the era of value-based care. As part of the Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS), NRDR has been approved as a qualified clinical data registry (QCDR) by CMS since 2014. This means that radiologists and groups can use NRDR measures to fulfill reporting requirements for the MIPS Quality category. One of the benefits of using NRDR for MIPS Quality reporting is the collection of data over time with regular feedback, which can support higher-quality performance.

Although it’s been 10 years, the NRDR team is constantly looking for more ways to make the experience smoother and to adapt as health care changes.

Learn more about NRDR and how to participate.