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Jt Comm J Qual Improv. 2002 Mar;28(3):108-14.

The development and demise of a cataract surgery database.

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American Academy of Ophthalmology, PO Box 7424, San Francisco, CA 94120-7424, USA.



The American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO; San Francisco) launched a national eye care outcomes initiative in 1996, in response to strong interest by third-party payers and managed care in performance measurement and outcomes. The AAO's outcomes initiative NEON (National Eyecare Outcomes Network) began with the design and launch of a prospective observational registry of patients undergoing cataract surgery.


Participants submitted a common set of data regarding patients' demographics, preoperative ophthalmologic history, physical exam, test results, functional status and symptoms, intraoperative procedures and events, and postoperative outcomes for all patients undergoing first or second eye cataract surgery.


Between January 1, 1996, and March 30, 2001, a total of 249 ophthalmologists submitted data on 17,876 patients undergoing first or second eye surgery. All preoperative, intraoperative, and postoperative clinical data forms were submitted for 9,937 patients (55.7%). After surgery, 93% of patients achieved a best corrected visual acuity of 20/40, 89% improved their visual functioning, and 92% experienced fewer cataract-related symptoms.


At the end of March 2001, NEON was discontinued because of a lack of participation and demand by members or third parties for this information. The momentum for accountability and performance measures never quite materialized into advantages for contracting for physicians or requirements by payers. In the future, more scientific evidence regarding the validity and meaning of outcome measures and differences in measurements, investment in health information technology infrastructure, use of technology to collect information at the point of care, and incentives favoring data collection and analysis will be needed to pave the way for renewed interest in outcomes.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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