Published 5/20/2024

AAOS Collaborates with Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association

American Joint Replacement Registry develops turnkey pathway for reporting patient-aggregated, deidentified, site- and surgeon-level data

ROSEMONT, Ill. (May 20, 2024)—The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) announced a formal collaboration with Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association (BCBSA) to allow consenting participants’ quality outcomes data from the American Joint Replacement Registry (AJRR) to be used by BCBSA for evaluating current and prospective Blue Distinction® Centers (BDC) for Knee and Hip Replacement. As part of the collaboration, AAOS will provide a pathway for reporting patient-aggregated, deidentified, site- and surgeon-level data from consenting AJRR participants, if opted in, to BCBSA on a recurring quarterly basis. The metrics will be used by BCBSA as part of the process that evaluates and designates qualifying sites as higher-quality institutions for knee and hip replacement.

Read more about this first-of-its-kind collaboration for the AAOS Registry Program here.

“The Blue Distinction Centers for Knee and Hip Replacement designations is a national recognition for expertise in delivering specialty care, given to hospitals and ambulatory surgery centers that meet a series of objective quality measures,” said Erin Barney, vice president of network solutions, Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. “Our relationship with AAOS allows seamless access to performance measure reports from consenting AJRR registry participants. We will include that data as part of our designation evaluations for this Blue Distinction program. The BDC designation, in turn, will help guide patients to find higher-quality, higher-value healthcare facilities that best fit their specialty care needs.”

Starting in June, consenting AJRR sites can submit performance metrics via the BCBSA BD Portal® survey tool or the AAOS Registry Program. AAOS registry participation will be the sole pathway for performance measure submission with future designation evaluations under these two BDC programs.

"AAOS’ relationship with BCBSA makes it possible for those who opt in to this program, through the AJRR, to seek and maintain the Blue Distinction specialty care designation,” said James I. Huddleston, III, MD, FAAOS, chair of the AJRR Steering Committee. “By creating pathways for BCBSA to seamlessly evaluate well-vetted, high-quality data, the AAOS Registry Program is advancing the utility and transparency of registry outcomes data. Together, we are positively impacting the future of patient care.”

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AAOS Registry Program
The AAOS Registry Program’s mission is to improve orthopaedic care through the collection, analysis, and reporting of actionable data. The American Joint Replacement Registry (AJRR), the Academy’s hip and knee replacement registry, is the cornerstone of the AAOS’s Registry Program, and the world’s largest national registry of hip and knee joint replacement data by annual procedural count, with more than 3 million procedures contained within its database. Additional registries include the Fracture & Trauma Registry (FTR), the Musculoskeletal Tumor Registry (MsTR), the Shoulder & Elbow Registry (SER), and the American Spine Registry (ASR), a collaborative effort between the American Association of Neurological Surgeons (AANS) and the AAOS. 

About Blue Distinction Centers
Blue Distinction Centers (BDC) met overall quality measures, developed with input from the medical community. A Local Blue Plan may require additional criteria for providers located in its own service area; for details, contact your Local Blue Plan. Blue Distinction Centers+ (BDC+) also met cost measures that address consumers’ need for affordable healthcare. Each provider’s cost of care is evaluated using data from its Local Blue Plan. Providers in CA, ID, NY, PA, and WA may lie in two Local Blue Plans’ areas, resulting in two evaluations for cost of care; and their own Local Blue Plans decide whether one or both cost of care evaluation(s) must meet BDC+ national criteria. National criteria for BDC and BDC+ are displayed on Individual outcomes may vary. For details on a provider’s in-network status or your own policy’s coverage, contact your Local Blue Plan and ask your provider before making an appointment. Neither Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association nor any Blue Plans are responsible for noncovered charges or other losses or damages resulting from Blue Distinction or other provider finder information or care received from Blue Distinction or other providers.

Contact AAOS Media Relations 

Deanna Killackey 


Lauren Riley