December 14th, 2015 by Charlie Blackburn | NAACCReview Home Leave a comment

Holly J. Kulhawick, CTR, Supervisor, Cancer Registry, Renown Health


Casefinding is an ongoing struggle for most hospital registries that translates into headaches for their associated Central Registries. Most commercial Registry Software providers now offer automation of casefinding using the ICD-9/10 Disease Index as an upload file. Alternatively, some products provide automated upload of positive pathology reports, and there are even companies that have come up with automated crosslinks from Radiation Oncology software products to the Cancer Registry Database, which allows for a direct import of treatment information. All of these options increase the efficiency and accuracy of the Hospital Cancer Registry and improve data quality for their associated Central Registry.

There is hesitation amongst many members of our community to avail themselves of these options. As a group we need to help bridge the gap and make use of all means of providing better quality, more timely data. We’ve all heard that the time lapse between treatment and data collection is too long to make the data of real use to many Oncologists. If we can find ways to perform casefinding closer to real time, that can be a huge step towards providing our physicians and researchers quality data that meets their needs. At Renown, we have focused on concurrent abstracting of our top sites. Coupling that initiative with automated casefinding and treatment data collection have allowed us to provide data that is within two weeks of real time to our physicians and administration.

Registrars shouldn’t fear this particular change. We’ve discovered that time spent in initiating this process has been minimal, but the benefits are immense. We are able to find new patients in time to get their cases assigned to the appropriate Tumor Board immediately after diagnosis, to provide our Nurse Navigators with lists of new patients, and we can use Registry data for popular Oncology Dashboard items like time from diagnostic biopsy to treatment, etc. within a time frame that allows Oncology managers to make adjustments if they note a slow down before patient care is impacted.

Read Full Article (The snippet below is from an article originally posted on Advance Healthcare Network)

Many cancer registries are short staffed. Given that fact, it makes little sense to avoid automation, but a recent informal poll of Certified Tumor Registrars (CTRs) at the 2015 National Cancer Registrars Association’s annual conference indicated that few registries are availing themselves of this technology. I heard a lot of interesting comments to the effect that automating casefinding, now available from most software vendors, produced too much additional work in duplicate records.

Last fall, against sage advice, I automated casefinding at my hospital. This involved meeting with our cancer registry software vendor and working with the report writers on the hospital’s IT staff. The goal included converting ICD-9 Disease Index files into a format that matched the North American Association of Central Cancer Registries (NAACCR) file layouts using a template provided by the hospital’s cancer registry software company. The process took about a month because of the IT department’s competing priorities and involved changing field sizes and converting one of the race fields to match the software. The time and effort to create this new program have yielded significant positive outcomes for the registry. The first upload of 300+ cases (one week’s worth) took five minutes. Not only did the new program run all 300 cases past existing suspense and completed abstracts, it noted differences in the matching criteria and flagged the cases with inconsistencies. I had long suspected that one of my speediest abstractors had a transposition issue and this new process confirmed it. … Read more

The opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and may not represent the official positions of NAACCR.

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