Cancer Informatics is the intersection of information science, computer science, medical oncology, communication, and health care. It deals with the resources, devices, and methods required to optimize the acquisition, storage, retrieval, and use of information in cancer. Applied cancer informatics turns clinical data into meaningful and useful information to improve processes and outcomes in patient-focused and evidence-based cancer care. Informally, cancer informatics supplies the right information, to the right people, in the right format at the right time.
Policy Statement and White Paper
NCRA has issued a policy statement on Monitoring Changes in Cancer Registry Operations to express the vital role of the CTR in the abstraction process, and the value they add to the data collection process. The Informatics Committee took the lead in drafting the policy statement and corresponding white paper.
The recent shift in the relationship between the cancer registry profession and technology has been precipitated by an emerging capability of EHR software. EHR vendors can now offer the possibility to map from the EHR’s data fields to the cancer abstract’s data fields in a simulation of the cancer registrar’s abstraction process. CEOs and administrators are challenged to maximize care and minimize cost, so the promises of EHR vendors are appealing and motivated by a need to conserve operational resources within the competitive and rapidly changing oncology service line.
It is the position of NCRA that before implementation of technological advancements, specifically, automated abstraction, they must meet the minimum standards of representing patient case data with: fidelity and predictability. Fidelity is the degree to which the data represents the actual case history of the patient. Predictability is the percent of occurrences in which the abstract will be accurate. NCRA believes that any technology that does not meet this dual threshold should not be promoted and brought to scale as a functional alternative to direct abstraction. The quality proposition of the abstraction process managed by the CTR serves as a benchmark that must be met or exceeded by new technology. Once met, the profession looks forward to a day when the CTR may be a “data curator” continuing the tradition of partnership in cancer data collection.
Read the policy statement and The Role of the Certified Tumor Registrar in Cancer Data Abstraction, the corresponding white paper.