The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has granted qualified clinical data registry (QCDR) status for 2018 to the National Pathology Quality Registry (NPQR) of the American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP). With its newly recognized status, NPQR offers pathologists a way to meet the requirements of CMS’s merit-based incentive payment system (MIPS) so that they can avoid penalties and potentially gain positive payment adjustments.

“NPQR is an institution-based registry that will allow pathologists and entire laboratory teams, as well as quality managers and IT managers, to participate in quality improvement initiatives, and now, with QCDR approval, CMS quality reporting,” says Steven Kroft, MD, MASCP, chair of the NPQR steering committee. “Being recognized by CMS is an important milestone for NPQR, but, importantly, it is only one aspect of the registry. What sets NPQR apart from other registries is that it also gives labs and pathologists the tools to initiate tangible quality improvement and make meaningful impacts on patient care delivery.”

Established by ASCP in 2016, NPQR offers a wide variety of meaningful, patient-centric measures—a subset of which are designated for MIPS reporting through the QCDR. The registry’s measures currently focus on monitoring appropriate utilization of laboratory testing, improving preanalytical processes, optimizing turnaround time and critical value reporting, and assessing analytical and diagnostic accuracy. Additional measures will be added in the future.

“ASCP recognizes the heterogeneity in pathology practices and listened to our members’ feedback on how existing measures suited only a subset of pathologists,” says Ali Brown, MD, FASCP, medical director of NPQR. “With these challenges in mind, ASCP developed NPQR to have applicable measures for most labs, with topics suiting both anatomic and clinical pathology.”

According to ASCP, medical laboratories currently lack a robust method for sharing best practices and benchmarking performance to drive improvement. Through NPQR, labs have a tool for quality improvement science and the establishment of best practices.

“With NPQR, instead of just giving pathologists a benchmark, we are incorporating ASCP’s vast expertise and educational materials to give pathologists and laboratories the tools to drive change,” says Kroft.

NPQR aggregates data from both clinical and anatomic pathology lab information systems to provide regularly updated dashboards that drill down to patient-level details. Participants can then create and share reports with frontline staff, departments, practice managers, and hospital administrators, allowing pathologists and laboratory professionals to take a leading role in quality management at their institutions.

E. Blair Holladay, PhD, ASCP.

E. Blair Holladay, PhD, ASCP.

“We encourage laboratories to join the National Pathology Quality Registry,” says E. Blair Holladay, PhD, MASCP, SCT(ASCP)CM, chief executive of ASCP. “We are a profession focused on quality diagnostic results. Pathologists, working with laboratory professionals, created this registry to suit the needs of the laboratory. Through NPQR, ASCP aims to highlight the critical work of the laboratory in providing the best possible care to our patients.”

In addition to offering pathologists a tool for regulatory reporting for 2018, NPQR is also offering a free reporting option for pathologists to meet 2017 MIPS requirements and avoid a 4% loss on their Medicare Part B billing this year.

For more information, visit ASCP.