Advancing Electronic Reporting
The National Program of Cancer Registries (NPCR) defines data reporting standards and develops models and tools to advance electronic reporting of cancer cases.
CDC has been a pioneer in electronic capture and transmission of cancer data into population-based registries. In 2006, NPCR launched the Electronic Pathology (ePath) Implementation Project to test a model for automated electronic capture and reporting of cancer registry data to central cancer registries. It involved the following participants: The College of American Pathologists (CAP), CDC’s National Center for Public Health Informatics Public Health Information Network (PHIN), the North American Association of Central Cancer Registries (NAACCR), Laboratory Corporation of America® Holdings (LabCorp®), and 18 state cancer registries.
Due to its success, the ePath Implementation Project has gone from pilot to practice. Electronic pathology reporting into cancer registries has expanded to all 50 states and includes many more national and regional laboratories. Reporting is done through CDC’s secure PHIN Messaging System (PHIMMS) to transport information to state public health information systems in most states. This is the same system for electronic laboratory reporting used by states for infectious diseases and biosurveillance.
The map below identifies the participating states and the laboratories reporting to them.
Electronic Pathology (E-path) Reporting
Direct e-path reporting into cancer registries can improve the completeness, timeliness, quality, and impact of cancer registry data. NPCR has developed software, eMaRC Plus, to receive and process the cancer data from laboratories to state cancer registries via Health Level 7 (HL7) files.
Guidance for electronic reporting of anatomic pathology reports from laboratories to state cancer registries is provided in—
- NAACCR Volume V Standard for Pathology Laboratory Electronic Reportingexternal icon
- NAACCR E-path Reporting Process Guideexternal icon
Program Highlight: California Cancer Registry Meets Deadline for 100% Electronic Reporting
As of January 1, 2019, all pathologists in California were required to submit reports directly to the state in an electronic format. Before this policy change, electronic pathology reporting in California was voluntary and lacked standards or a centralized approach. The central registry’s ability to perform surveillance and research in real time or near real time was limited by delays in data capture by registries.
To meet the new requirement quickly, the California Cancer Registryexternal icon used the reporting standards in NAACCR Volume V along with specified constraints. This allowed California to support narrative, synoptic, and synoptically structured message formats using CAP eCC, ensuring data consistency.
Lessons learned: The more discrete cancer data that can be retrieved from the reporting source, the faster central registries can include the records in the final database. The California Cancer Registry believes that synoptically structured data are essential to ease of cancer surveillance data use and sharing. Ultimately, California would like to build from pathology reports and other types of source data to map near real time surveillance measures and fulfill near-term data requests.