In the battle against cancer, registrars play an increasing force in both improving individual and population health outcomes. These highly trained and specialized experts “collect data that provides essential information to researchers, healthcare providers, and public health officials to better monitor and advance cancer treatments, conduct research, and improve cancer prevention and screening programs.”
Through their partnership with healthcare professionals, they help providers make decisions on how to treat and prevent cancer.
In 2020, more than 19 million new cancer cases were diagnosed and 10 million deaths occurred worldwide. The impact of cancer registry cannot be overstated. Let’s look at 3 key ways these healthcare professionals integrally shape the journeys of cancer patients and providers.
#1) Providing a powerful partnership
Cancer registrars work closely with physicians, researchers, and hospital leaders to provide key support and serve as an integral source of cancer information.
By maintaining a registry, healthcare providers ensure their access to vital data such as:
- demographic information: race, ethnicity, age, sex, birthplace, residence, and other population-based information
- medical history: the essential context for any diagnosis, including previous cancer history, screening information, and physical findings
- cancer information: primary site, cell type, and disease extent
- diagnostic data: test, dates, procedures and results
- treatment information: radiation therapy, surgery, hormone, and other information
- follow-up data: information on recurrence, check-up information, instances of recurrence, etc.
While much of this data is present in EHRs, it can be fragmented and not connected to other cancer cases and patients. On the other hand, with a registry, healthcare professionals have a key resource to access aggregated data that can be used to plan the best course of action.
#2) Providing support for cancer program development
Through creating population-based registries, providers can directly improve care by connecting clinicians and non-clinical staff across the research continuum. The result is evidence-based data to improve the quality of cancer treatment and prevent related deaths. Using this approach can be vital in revealing crucial facts that all clinicians must consider.
For example, cancer registrars identified a pattern of undertreatment among elderly patients that directly contributed to increased cancer deaths among this population. In another study, cancer registries in connection with occupational data sources were identified “an essential resource for conducting studies among at-risk populations such as firefighters.”
By considering findings like these, providers can work to reduce mortality and improve the quality of life for their patients. Further cancer data collection can illuminate high-risk behavior and environmental factors that contribute to cancer development. With this information, providers, along with public health professionals, can undertake preventative measures to reduce case numbers and resulting deaths.
#3) Ensuring compliance with reporting standards
Compliance is a chief concern for all healthcare organizations. With cancer diagnoses and complex related health conditions, the potential for error can easily escalate. This can create issues in ensuring patients receive proper treatment and can slow down the reimbursement process.
Coded data provides an accurate clinical snapshot, but it’s more than just specialized coding that these professionals offer to ensure compliance. The impact of tumor registry professionals extends across various sources to complete cancer abstracts with the appropriate data elements for your registry.
From here, this data travels to state and national registries where they can serve as a foundation for broader cancer research. Along the way, registrars may undertake case finding, abstracting, follow-up and other projects while compiling reports and supporting clinicians.
Across the board, they help to ensure compliance both inside their roles and across your system’s entire operations.
Pushing forward as a critical research element
Despite the numerous medical advances over the last few decades, cancer is still a leading cause of death in the United States. But cancer registry data teams are working diligently to reduce that number.
Their work is foundational for clinicians and non-clinical staff to provide more effective cancer intervention and prevention. By collecting, aggregating and analyzing cancer data, they help other healthcare professionals:
- monitor cancer trends over time
- evaluate cancer patterns in populations and identify high-risk groups
- guide planning an evaluation of cancer control programs
- set priorities for allocating health resources
- study cancer causes and prevention strategies
Here at Harmony, we have highly qualified cancer registrars on our team to support healthcare organizations in their efforts toward more effective and efficient cancer care. Learn more here.