California Department of Public Health (CDPH) Partners for Breakthrough for Sharing Cancer Data

In In The News by Barbara Jacoby

The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) Director and State Health Officer Dr. Karen Smith announced today that the Department is participating in a historic pilot project with St. Joseph Health to better understand cancer trends in California. This partnership is the first in the United States in which a health system collects and securely sends structured pathology cancer data directly to the California Cancer Registry (CCR).

“Every second we save in sharing data gives researchers more time to spend on curing cancer,” said Dr. Smith. “This partnership is another way in which the California Department of Public Health works with the private sector and health care systems to optimize the health and well-being of the people in California.”

This project has afforded the cancer registry the opportunity to perform real-time surveillance activities on data reported via project partners while opening the door to many new research opportunities that will ultimately improve patient treatment and outcomes.

Ten hospitals within the St. Joseph Health system are now sending data directly to CDPH’s California Cancer Registry (CCR), with other health care facilities expected to participate in the future. The St. Joseph Health pilot project is a collaboration between CDPH, St Joseph Health, mTuitive and the College of American Pathologists (CAP).

Prior to this project, a cancer diagnosis by a pathologist was stored as narrative text data within the hospital’s or laboratory’s electronic records system. The use of text data limited the practical uses of the pathology report for research into cancer causes and possible cures.

This pathology data-capture project required the use of CAP electronic Forms and Reporting Module (eFRM). Using CAP eFRM, pathologists securely transmit complete cancer data electronically to the CCR, where it can be used for patient care and cancer control efforts throughout the state.

Work on this pilot program began in January 2014. The first complete data-set was sent by St. Joseph’s to CCR in March 2015.