Cancer Surveillance Informatics

Photo of five people using laptop or tablet computers

Cancer surveillance informatics focuses on identifying and evaluating how to use emerging technology to incorporate automated processes and electronic data exchange.

Informatics is the science concerned with gathering, organizing, storing, and recording information. Informatics develops new uses for information technology to solve specific problems in areas as diverse as biology, fine arts, and economics. Informatics is also interested in how people transform technology, and how technology transforms us.

Topics covered by informatics include—

  1. Technology and its application.
  2. Information organization and structure.
  3. Human behavior and communication related to the other two domains.

Two informatics focus areas that are relevant to CDC are public health informatics and cancer surveillance informatics.

Public health informatics is “…the systematic application of information and computer science and technology to public health practices, research and learning.”

Cancer surveillance informatics focuses on identifying and evaluating how to use emerging technology to incorporate automated processes and electronic data exchange. The concept of capturing data once and using it to meet multiple needs will become more critical as the need for information increases across the health care community. Cancer surveillance informatics projects evaluate data streams, such as insurance claims data that may meet cancer registries’ requirements, alleviating the need to create special data streams for cancer registries.

CDC’s National Program of Cancer Registries (NPCR) has a team dedicated to the efficient and effective organization and management of data, information, and knowledge generated and used by public health professionals to fulfill the core functions of public health—assessment, policy, and assurance. Learn why cancer data are collected and how they are used.

NPCR is working with several partners to streamline how data are collected and transmitted to cancer registries. Current informatics projects include—

Cancer reporting from ambulatory providers to state cancer registries is a public health objective for Stages 2 and 3 Meaningful Use.

Defining data reporting standards and developing models and tools to transmit data in pathology reports from national and regional laboratories to state cancer registries.

Computer processes transform unstructured written text in health records into the data collected by cancer registries.

References

Page last reviewed: December 14, 2021