Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Cancer Registry Professionals – Get Ready for Changes in 2018

By Laura Vondenhuevel, BS, RHIT, CTR
You know the old saying, “change is the only constant in life?” Well as cancer registry professionals, don’t we know it! Every year we see tweaks being made to our manuals, code descriptions being added and new drugs being introduced to the oncology market. So change is something to which we cancer registrars have grown accustomed. And 2018 promises to be an interesting year for us.
Flash Back to 2010
If you were part of the cancer registry community back in 2010, you remember our last big change: the move from American Joint Committee on Cancer (AJCC) Staging Manual 6th edition to the 7th edition. The effects of this change were a big adjustment and even effected other cancer data collection manuals such as the Facility Oncology Registry Data Standards (FORDS) and Collaborative Staging. Cancer registry professionals who were around for this transition will remember an added challenge was that data items were released very close to the go live date of January 1, 2010, so many software providers were not ready to go live with their updates until months later in 2010. Do you remember the widespread suggestion to use paper abstracts to fill this gap? SMH. It was not fun and we were stuck abstracting, for the most part, at six months from date of first contact.
What’s Coming in 2018
Fast forward to 2018. The age of “Concurrent Abstracting” (or at least more concurrent than six months) is upon us with many hospital cancer registry professionals abstracting cases anywhere from “in real time” to six months from the date of first contact. And, if you have been reading your emails from our standard setters, you know another big change is on the way. The North American Association of Central Cancer Registries (NAACCR) has established a website to locate 2018 implementation information in one central location – that has been a big help for those of us cancer registry professionals who are trying to keep up! If you’re trying to keep track of what is being updated, here are some details that should definitely be on your list:

  • Staging: AJCC 8th Edition, Summary Stage 2018, Extent of Disease, and Site Specific Data Items (SSDI)
  • Coding: ICD-O 3 Revisions, Solid Tumor Rules (formerly the Multiple Primary and Histology (MP/H) Rules), Hematopoietic Database and Manual, and Standards for Oncology Registry Entry (STORE) Manual (formerly FORDS)

Many of these items will not be released until November 2017 or later. So what is a concurrently abstracting cancer registry professional to do? In my next blog post, I hope to share some ideas to prep your cancer registry for these changes. It’s always better to be prepared as possible! Stay tuned…
This article was originally featured on the CHAMPS Oncology Outlook blog on October 3, 2017 and reprinted with permission.  

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