April 6th-10th marks the 19th annual National Cancer Registrars Week. It’s time to show your appreciation and celebrate the many registrars that add to the HIM community.
Before new treatment and advances in cancer can happen, researchers and clinicians must have knowledge. This knowledge is acquired through the extensive data collected by Cancer Registrars that have been standardized across North America as well as collected around the world.
Currently there are over 5200 Certified Tumor Registrars, and the quality cancer data they provide is the first link in the nation’s fight against cancer. According to NCRA President, Terri Richardson, RHIA, CTR, “National Cancer Registrars Week provides an opportunity to acknowledge the pivotal role registrars play in creating the sound footing from which cancer care and treatment can advance.” There are many reasons to be thankful for Cancer Registrars, here are just a few:
REASON #1: Cancer Registrars are adaptable: A Cancer Registrar’s role can vary as well as the workplace. In a facility, the cancer registrar could be someone who collects the data using the many specialized coded fields. There are manuals used in coding which include the ICD-O-3 Code Book and the AJCC Staging Manual as well as multiple on-line resources from standard-setting agencies. Not only is there an endless number of rules that are disease specific, but these continue to change every year.
REASON #2: Cancer Registrars work hard to keep up with changing data. There has been a shift in recent years as some of the data is readily available in other electronic medical systems so that the registrar is more of a report analyst instead of one who only enters data. In addition, the information collected does not stop with the walls of the facility. Regardless of where the patient may have received their treatment, this information as well as annual follow-up contact is included in the patient abstract for not only referral patterns but outcome analysis. No one else has the entire cancer patient’s story like the registrar, from onsite of the first symptoms to the ultimate end, the patient’s demise.clinical research and quality improvement. Also, there are many registrars that work for companies such as cancer registry software vendors
REASON #3: Cancer Registrars are key to a hospital’s success. A registrar could also be a key individual in the hospital’s cancer program accreditation. The leadership of the program is multidisciplinary and includes physicians, administration, nursing, other health professionals and the Cancer Registrar. There are many standards from the Commission on Cancer that involve the cancer registry and it is often the cancer registrar who is a resource when interpreting the rules. In an approved program, the hospital’s cancer experience is electronically sent to the American College of Surgeons and included in the National Cancer Data Base that is available for research and study.
REASON #4: Cancer Registrars often work in central registries in the state’s department of health. They electronically gather cases of cancer from the hospitals, clinics and physicians and merge patient information where duplicated. Some are responsible for the quality of the data and communicate with the hospital registrar to ensure the information collected is the most accurate. The data from the state level is eventually submitted to the Center for Disease Control. This information includes cancer patient populations, outcomes of treatment as well as survival analysis.
REASON #5: Cancer registrars are versatile. In addition to the more traditional roles, cancer registrars work in other areas of the hospital such as and staffing and consultant firms.
REASON #6: Cancer Registrars care: They have a passion for the work they do and want to make a real difference for future cancer patients. Please let them know how much you appreciate their dedication, knowledge and expertise during NCRW week.