Celebrating the 10-Year Anniversary of the AQUA Registry


Sujay Jadhav, CEO

Prostate cancer, excluding skin cancer, ranks as the most prevalent cancer among men in the United States. About 1 in 8 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during their lifetime. During the 1980s and early 90s, there was an increase in prostate cancer deaths; urologists were inundated with patients who were afflicted from this condition that had limited screening and treatment options. Thankfully, significant progress has been made over the intervening years. From widespread screening to novel therapeutics, there are now more options available for patients. 

In 2014, our medical society partner, the American Urological Association (AUA), established a clinical registry so that clinicians could continually learn from the patients they care for, and use those experiences to evolve. The AUA Quality (AQUA) Registry utilizes electronic health records (EHRs) to help inform research and improve the quality of urologic care, including for patients with prostate cancer. Little did the AUA know, its goal to create such a registry to advance healthcare, would turn into something far grander. 

The vision of the AQUA Registry

In January 2014, the AQUA Registry was born and is celebrating its 10th anniversary this month.

The AUA has three pillars to its mission; one being to advance health care policy, which includes legislative affairs, science, and quality. With a desire to expand on the areas of science and quality, the AUA radically changed its infrastructure and mission around health policy. A Science & Quality Division was created with a new department focused on data, which would become the backbone for future decision-making. In 2013, the program’s committee and board of directors determined that a medical registry was needed to further improve quality healthcare. So, in January 2014, the AQUA Registry was born and is celebrating its 10th anniversary this month. 

Evolution to new heights

At its core, the AQUA Registry is a national Qualified Clinical Data Registry (QCDR) specifically designed to measure, report and improve healthcare quality and patient outcomes. The AQUA Registry aggregates real-world data (RWD) from EHRs to help clinicians better understand patient diagnoses and treatment outcomes. 

The AQUA Registry is the world’s largest clinical data registry for urology and is fast becoming the definitive resource for informing and advancing urologic care globally. It includes data from 95 million de-identified patient encounters, nearly 12 million unique de-identified patients and more than 2,300 clinicians.

In 2019, the AUA sought a partner that could not only extract data from the AQUA Registry to advance research and improve healthcare quality, but one that also had relationships with life sciences companies that could use the insights to develop treatments. That data partner is Verana Health. We’re a digital health company that utilizes artificial intelligence (AI) technology to unlock RWD for insights into urologic diseases. 

Advancing urologic research now and into the future 

Since 2020, the AUA and Verana Health have partnered on research analyzing RWD from the AQUA Registry to highlight findings pertaining to a variety of urologic conditions. Past projects have included prostate cancer, bladder cancer, as well as patterns in care following the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It’s tremendous when we look back at the vision and see how it’s all come together with our community over the last decade.”

“Our hope is that, with this research, initiatives can be developed that could provide clinical guidance on urologic procedures and improve patient care,” says Mike Sheppard, CPA, CAE, CEO, American Urological Association. “It’s tremendous when we look back at the vision and see how it’s all come together with our community over the last decade.”  

Mike has also been impressed by the sustainability of the AQUA Registry.

“Our members have been using the AQUA Registry as a clinical tool in advancing quality care for 10 years, and we are being seen as an organization that is advancing quality and urologic care, which is very rewarding,” he adds.

Verana Health is proud of what it has accomplished through its partnership with the AUA. Clinical registries, such as the AQUA Registry, have become increasingly important to understand healthcare in the real world. We look forward to the novel insights that will emerge from the AQUA Registry, and the opportunities to enrich scientific understanding of urologic disease.

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