Cancer data sharing drives collaboration between California health department, St. Joseph Health

St. Joseph Health and the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) are teaming up on a project to collect and share cancer data.

The information will be collected and sent to the California Cancer Registry. The registry then can survey the data in real-time, as well as allow for new research opportunities to help patients with cancer see better treatment and achieve better outcomes, according to an announcement.

Data continues to play a larger role in cancer care and research, especially with the push for precision medicine. That can lead to more individualized care, as in the case of Kathy Halamka, who was diagnosed with breast cancer; Kathy is the wife of John Halamka, CIO of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.

Currently, 10 hospitals in the St. Joseph Health system are providing data to the state cancer registry and more are expected to join the project.

"Every second we save in sharing data gives researchers more time to spend on curing cancer," Karen Smith, CDPH director and state health officer, said in the announcement.

Health systems are continually looking for ways to leverage data, and while the term "big data" gets thrown around a lot, said Larry Stofko, executive vice president of the Innovation Institute at St. Joseph Health System, small data is just an important. Stofko said billions of dollars could be saved if we can connect the dots between small data, which maximizes individual care, and big data, which uncovers solutions that can have a global impact.

In addition, the California Health Department is not the only one using data when it comes to new efforts.

Using data from readmissions, emergency department use and hospital admissions, the Minnesota Department of Public Health is finding room for improvement when it comes to cutting costs.

To learn more:
- read the announcement
- check out the cancer registry