Electronic Data Share to Improve Cancer Outcomes

The California Department of Public Health has announced participation in a pilot project with St. Joseph Health to better understand cancer trends in California.

A collaboration between a leading healthcare system and a state’s department of public health could only be for the better, and the state of California hopes it’s true. The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) has announced that since January 2014, the Department has participated in a historic pilot project with St. Joseph Health to better understand cancer trends in California. This premise of the partnership—the first in the United States—is that structured pathology cancer data from the health system will be directly shared with the California Cancer Registry (CCR).

“Every second we save in sharing data gives researchers more time to spend on curing cancer,” said Dr Karen Smith, director of CDPH, in a statement. “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.”

CCR is a population-based cancer surveillance system that collects information on all cancers diagnosed in the state of California, and the data is analyzed to develop strategies and policies on prevention, treatment, and control. Additionally, decisions on early detection and education programs stem out of this data. Now, with this collaboration, CCR can perform real-time surveillance, which has the potential to improve patient treatment and outcomes.

According to a press release by CDPH, 10 hospitals within the St. Joseph Health system are now sending data directly to CCR, with other healthcare facilities expected to participate in the future. The current pilot project is a collaboration between CDPH, St Joseph Health, the technology company mTuitive, and the College of American Pathologists (CAP). The pathology data-capture with this project will be a big transformation from the text-heavy narrative of a typical pathology report in the patient’s electronic medical record. St. Joseph Health is using CAP eFRM, a reporting module developed jointly by CAP and mTuitive, to collect and transfer cancer diagnostic data to CCR.

An expanding project, mTuitive is seeking additional laboratories to collaborate with in this project.