Registries in Transition

Ask and you shall receive? When it comes to registry data, it depends.

The potential for technology to transform patient care is a recurring theme in this issue. That includes what might be a quantum jump in the interventional cardiology world from stents to scaffolds, early stage molecular imaging techniques to identify treatment response in heart failure patients and 3D imaging to better guide cardiac catheterization procedures.

Registry-based research has been gaining traction as EMRs become more robust and cardiovascular specialists gain expertise in using this resource. The American College of Cardiology (ACC), which has been on the forefront with its National Cardiovascular Data Registry and other initiatives, features several registry-based studies at its scientific sessions in March. See our Q&A on for more on late-breaking clinical trial trends.

Registries pose a number of technical and logistical challenges as well, as outlined in our article. Making EMRs compatible with a registry requires technical know-how, appropriate software and an investment in time and money. Data entry remains a burden for participants and much work still needs to be done to achieve full integration.

Big data’s big buzz also gets a reality check in a guest column from Brendan Mullen, senior director of the ACC’s PINNACLE registry. He takes aim at common myths and shares nine lessons learned in the trenches in “Avoiding a (Tera)Flop”.

Registry data also is an ally in the face-to-face interactions of cardiology’s advocates and decision-makers on the Hill. Our cover story takes a look at the role of the physician advocate, those professionals who serve as the voice of the specialty with congressional leaders, aides, the FDA and other regulatory bodies. To be effective, they need to be convincing communicators and registry findings provide them with evidence to support their messages.

“No one who has the responsibility for policy making or coverage decisions wants to make the wrong decision,” explains Peter Duffy, MD, co-chair of the Society for Angiography and Interventions’ Advocacy Committee. “They just want to have the right facts in front of them.”

We still have growing pains but registries are proving their worth to hospitals and the nation alike.