Realising the potential: leveraging clinical quality registries for real world clinical research

Susannah Ahern, Belinda J Gabbe, Sally Green, Carol L Hodgson, Erica M Wood, John R Zalcberg OAM and Tsharni Zazryn
Med J Aust 2022; 216 (6): . || doi: 10.5694/mja2.51443
Published online: 4 April 2022

Broader use of clinical quality registry infrastructure will enhance research‐driven improvements in health care

Clinical or patient registries are organised systems that use “observational study methods to collect uniform data (clinical and other) to evaluate specified outcomes for a population defined by a particular disease, condition, or exposure, and that serves one or more stated scientific, clinical, or policy purposes”.1 Clinical quality registries (CQRs) in Australia refer specifically to clinical registries that regularly provide feedback to participating sites and clinicians regarding performance against clinical quality indicators, with the aim of reducing variation and improving overall patient outcomes.2 They are recognised as important quality improvement initiatives by the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care, which released a framework for clinical registries in 2014.2 The Commission has over 90 clinical registries listed in Australia, across diverse clinical areas, surgeries, procedures and devices on its Australian Register of Clinical Registries.3 Nationally, the importance of maximising the impact of CQRs in achieving better health outcomes was recently recognised by the release of the National Clinical Quality Registry and Virtual Registry Strategy.4 However, while CQRs produce technical reports and their data are used for secondary research purposes, their role as an effective research tool in their own right in Australia has received limited specific attention, resulting in a significant unrealised potential in Australian clinical research infrastructure.

  • 1 Monash University, Melbourne, VIC
  • 2 Alfred Hospital, Melbourne, VIC
  • 3 Monash Health, Melbourne, VIC


Competing interests:

No relevant disclosures.


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