Winter 2018 NAACCR Narrative Leave a comment

Betsy A. Kohler, MPH, CTR
NAACCR Executive Director



Best wishes for a happy, healthy, and successful New Year from the NAACCR Office!

The much anticipated 2018 has arrived. Many changes in data collection will be put into place this year. For example, new site specific data items (SSDI), new staging systems, and new ICD-O-3 codes. NAACCR staff and NAACCR members from across North America have been working feverishly to make this transition as easy as possible. The SSDI Task Force and UDS Work Group doubled their meeting frequencies to twice a week and twice a month respectively to define new variables and new codes, and revise old ones. A new NAACCR Version 18 Record Layout has been released.  The 2018 Implementation Guidelines Task Force released the Concurrent Abstracting Overview Statement. 2017 was a very labor intensive year for many NAACCR members who have been working behind the scenes in preparation for this transition.

Central cancer registries answer to many organizations who impose new standards and requirements on a regular basis to keep up with changes in oncology and patient care. These modifications affect both the central and hospital registries, clinics, physicians, and other sources who provide data. New standards come with new rules, new codes and new processes to be implemented in each registry. Software needs to be changed, edits developed and staff needs to be trained. It’s a complicated and highly technical process. Seemingly small changes can have wide repercussions, and big changes create tsunamis! On the other hand, some changes that appear to be large may in fact be relatively easy to adapt to, at least from the perspective of coding. For example, we are hopeful that the transition from site-specific factors SSF’s to site-specific data items (SSDIs) will be a relatively easy transition for coders, since for the most part the same information is being collected, and the work to update the codes and improve consistency with pathology reports may actually make the coding process easier. As with other life events, it is sometimes true that the anticipation of a forthcoming change many be more painful than the change itself, and it is important that work to support each other through any turbulence in the months ahead.

Each registry could go it alone and develop their own unique way of implementing changes. They could come up with their own codes and rules for data items.  But this would be inefficient, with each registry dedicating multiple staff to solve the implementation challenges. Further, this method is counter to the concept of standardization and comparability of data, two concepts at the heart of the establishment of NAACCR by central registries.

The NAACCR work groups and task forces allow central registry staff, standard setting agencies, and software vendors to work collectively on a common problem.  These groups provide a sounding board for new ideas and efficiencies.  NAACCR encourages registries to help shape the change and develop methods that will be effective in all registries.

Change has been difficult to manage within the cancer surveillance community. While we struggle to develop consistency and quality in our data collection, medicine forges ahead improving patient care and needing new and different data to evaluate progress.

As we launch into 2018 take a minute to reflect on how far we have come and what lies ahead. As the cancer surveillance community continues to work together we will make progress and ultimately reduce the burden of cancer.

You are not alone tackling the new data requirementsYour comments, opinions and ideas are always welcome! NAACCR has a Forum area on our website designed for members to express their opinions, ask questions and connect with other members. A forum on the 2018 changes may be accessed here:

Please feel free to express your thoughts and suggestions.




Copyright © 2016 NAACCR, Inc. All Rights Reserved | See NAACCR Partners and Sponsors