Plan, Plan, Plan: How to Prepare for Oncology Data Collection Changes

You cannot watch an evening of television without seeing at least one advertisement for planning and preparing for retirement.  But planning should not be limited to just your retirement. If you are in a hospital cancer registry, you should be in the throes of planning for the 2018 data collection changes required for abstracting cancer diagnoses as of January 1, 2018.  Yes, I am writing about planning for something that is supposed to have already happened.  We all know that story, but let’s change the conversation from “Why did this happen?” to “How can I manage these changes?”. The answer to that is preplanning. Here are a few ideas to get started.

AJCC Cancer Staging Manual, 8th Edition: Chapter 1 has not changed and sets the general rules for assigning Clinical, Pathological and Post Neo-Adjuvant TNM Stage. It is free on the AJCC website if you have not yet purchased the 8th Edition manual.  If you have not read and studied it, this should be part of your preplanning.  While you are at it, Chapter 48 Breast has been rewritten and is also free on the AJCC website. There are other free resources available on the website as well. The third printing of the 8th edition should be available soon and can be pre-ordered from Springer.  The electronic product is going through contracting and legal negotiations right now, but should be coming once these legalities are worked out.

NAACCR 2018 Implementation Information: North American Association of Central Cancer Registries (NAACCR) 2018 Implementation Information site has a wealth of information, from timelines to draft manuals to concurrent abstraction statements from multiple standard setters and policy makers.  If you want to know what is and what will be available for training on all the changes coming, you can find a calendar here.  The new draft manuals for the Grade Rules and Schema as well as Site Specific Data Items are available to help determine what to collect and not collect.  Summary Stage and Extent of Disease staging information is also available.  Becoming familiar with the materials available from NAACCR is a crucial step in preplanning.

Develop a 2018 Abstraction Strategy:  Once you review all the materials that are available from AJCC and NAACCR, you will have enough information to start developing an abstraction strategic plan.  If you are in an American College of Surgeon, Commission on Cancer accredited cancer program, submission to Rapid Quality Reporting Systems remains in effect.  You must determine how you are going to fulfill the minimal reporting requirements to meet Standard 5.2 and decide if you will submit extended data as well.  If your cancer registry software is in the current format (NAACCR16) when you are ready to begin abstraction of 2018 cases, you must determine which data items will be abstracted, which data items must NOT be abstracted, and which data items can be recorded into text or notepad areas for retrieval once your NAACCR18 compatible software is available.  You will have to determine how to track partially completed abstracts and whose responsibility it will be to review and complete those abstracts.

These steps should help you get started on preplanning your registry transition from FORDS data collection standards to the new STORE data collection standards.  As more of the manuals become available in either draft or final form, you can revise your plan. Once you take this very proactive approach, you will have the ability to manage change, anxiety and expectations related to the 2018 changes to cancer registry data. If the cancer registry in your facility is struggling, Ciox has an experienced and knowledgeable staff who can assist your facility with basic registry function, management, registry function assessment and remediation to bring your registry back into focus.

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