Data collections standards changed as of January 1, 2018. Unfortunately, the manual to go along with those changes – STandards for Oncology Registry Entry (STORE) – was released much later in the year. At 506 pages long, it can seem quite daunting, but please, do not be afraid! Taking a methodical approach to reviewing the manual will make it much easier to absorb.
- Start with the Foreword by Dr. Frederick L. Greene, MD FACS. He is a cancer registrar’s greatest advocate and his foreword provides the reasoning behind the switch to STORE. Dr. Greene led an effort to update the existing Facility Oncology Registry Data Standards (FORDS) manual “to ensure [the manual] would have greater relevance to current oncologic practice and data collection.” Understanding the “why” will start you out on a good footing.
- Next, review the Preface. The Preface provides an overview of all the major revisions – some we have known about for some time, while others are new and may be a surprise. Again, don’t let the changes scare you. Remember, they were not put in place to make your work life more difficult. Every change was made so that the data we provide is more relatable and usable for healthcare providers, researchers, and the surveillance community. This will eventually lead to better patient care for everyone – even perhaps for you or someone dear to you.
- Don’t skip the STORE 2018 Overview. This section will give you the basics for data collections and some notable exceptions to these basics. It will help you navigate ambiguous circumstances and also provides listings of ambiguous terms for cancer diagnosis or reportability as well as ambiguous terms for cancer involvement (staging). It’s important to note that these ambiguous terms listings are not interchangeable; they are now clearly distinct.
- Time to jump ahead to Appendix A: STORE Updates for 2018. Here you’ll find a list of 14 changes or categories of changes. Fourteen’s not so bad … unless you are talking about teenaged children. But if you can handle a 14-year-old, you can handle these 14 changes!
- Now you can dive into Section Two: Instructions for Coding. This is the guts of the manual. Each field has its own section and at the top of each section is a field dashboard. The last listing in the dashboard (furthest to the right) is the ‘Date Revised.’ If you are comfortable with FORDS 2016 fields, then you only really need to educate yourself on the fields that have a ‘Date Revised’ of 01/18. Concentrate on those changes first, then review the other fields if you need a refresher on previously revised fields.
And there you have it – five easy steps to get started with the STORE manual. The next post will go into more detail about the changes and you can read it here. As you take the manual bit by bit, you will see that there is nothing to be afraid about!