Researchers create real-time, EHR-based reporting model for cancer registry

A new model for electronic health record reporting of cancer cases to Kentucky's state cancer registry operates in real time, helping epidemiologists see trends more quickly.

An announcement by the University of Kentucky, where the model was developed, calls it the first such working model in the United States.

As part of a project funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act for comparative effectiveness research activities through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, researchers Tom Tucker and Eric Durbin were awarded a subcontract for $976,449 to develop the methods and standards for physician EHRs to report directly to the Kentucky Cancer Registry.

A test on Oct. 19 showed the model works. Five new cases were reported from Paducah Dermatology in Paducah, Ky., to the registry.

"This is an important step toward making cancer-related comparative effectiveness research studies possible in Kentucky," said Tucker, director of the Kentucky Cancer Registry.

The Kentucky Cancer Registry, the Kentucky Regional Extension Center and Kentucky Health Information Exchange are working with 43 other cancer care providers across the state to establish EHR reporting to the registry. 

Meaningful Use Stage 2 calls for physician EHR reporting to cancer registries for comparative effectiveness research. Yet the technology for the reporting as well as for conducting that research is still being worked out.

Jess Kahn, technical director for Health IT at Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, back in February said state health information exchanges might be the key to meeting that Stage 2 requirement, since connecting with thousands of physician offices is beyond public health agencies' capabilities.

And research from Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center in September called for a redesign of EHR systems to encourage data-sharing between healthcare research and clinical practices. The nonprofit Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute in June looked at the informatics platforms developed so far for research.

To learn more:
- read the announcement

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