Electronic Cancer Registry

How We Did It

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Flow of Data into and out of the NJH Cancer Registry.

To enhance its clinical cancer program, National Jewish Health (NJH), in collaboration with Colorado Central Cancer Registry, launched a project in 2011 to organize patient-level information into an electronic registry – the NJH Cancer Registry. The Registry contains pertinent clinical information for all patients diagnosed or treated for cancer at NJH. The level of detail of the information is sufficient to enable electronic abstraction, collation, and reporting of cancer cases to the Colorado Central Cancer Registry. Therefore, the NJH Cancer Registry bypasses the need for manual chart abstraction and the intermediary services of a cancer registrar. To our knowledge, we are the first healthcare organization to accomplish automated reporting of cancer cases to a state registry.

To enable electronic capture of key elements of cancer care, including pathology information, cancer staging, plan of care, treatments given, cancer status, and vital status, we designed new data entry forms for the electronic health record used by NJH (Allscripts). The database design is a series of tables that contain all the data from the collection forms. To ensure that the information in the Cancer Registry is complete and accurate, we designed and implemented a data quality cycle, composed of four key reports that are reviewed regularly by oncology clinical staff.

The NJH Cancer Registry is updated automatically from information charted in the day to day care of patients. Because of the completeness, accuracy, and timeliness of information regarding cancer patients, the NJH Cancer Registry has proved useful not only for state reporting, but also for practice management, quality assurance, and quality improvement of the cancer program.

By developing new ways to capture cancer-related medical information electronically and on the frontline, the goal is to enable NJH and similar healthcare organizations to efficiently and quickly transmit not only traditional state-mandated reporting, but also to transmit information on second line and adjunctive cancer treatments and patient outcomes. Ultimately, such enriched information may enable comparative effectiveness research and better public health reporting.