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Who We Are—and Why

The Cancer Data Modernization Consortium (CDMC) is a nonprofit membership organization managed by California Cancer Registry (CCR) and California Society of Pathologists. CDMC consists of the following committees: Business Operations, Communication and Outreach, Data Analytics and Research Development, Finance, Policy, and Standards and Technology.

CDMC Sponsors CSP & CCR

CDMC is dedicated to improving outcomes for cancer patients by modernizing how data about their cases are currently collected and utilized. CDMC works to achieve this objective by providing the leadership needed to move the field from its current extensive reliance on paper records toward the “real-time” capture of data utilizing the most up-to-date technologies and methodologies, pointedly including electronic health records.

Pathology reports generally contain the first diagnosis of patient’s cancer. Unfortunately, real-time pathology reporting to the CCR is not currently feasible in most instances, as the prevalent practice of creating pathology reports with unstructured and potentially incomplete data makes it cost-prohibitive and/or technologically impossible.

CCR receives initial cancer abstracts from reporting facilities at least 15 months after the first diagnosis, on average, reflecting a nationwide pattern. This alarming reality severely impairs operational efficiency, results in missed opportunities to locate other data on the same patient, and diverts scarce resources away from the development of more-advanced approaches to informatics and surveillance linked to cancer care.

The greatest impediment to real-time incident reporting of cancer cases is the current state of pathology laboratory reporting practices. So CDMC’s most-important objective is to achieve “real-time” reporting of incident cancer cases with demographic data. We are committed to collaborating with California’s laboratories to advance implementation of standardized electronic pathology reporting – and, by doing so, to improving outcomes for cancer patients. We deeply believe we owe it to them to succeed.

The Key to Progress: Changing Pathology Reporting

CDMC is initiating California’s move toward the “real-time” reporting of cancer cases by leveraging the healthcare industry’s transition from paper to electronic health records.

For the patient, the pathology report is generally the first diagnosis of their cancer. Using this report to start a cancer case in the cancer registry community is revolutionary and a game-changer.

The greatest impediment to real-time incident reporting of cancer cases is the current state of pathology laboratory reporting practices.
Unfortunately, real-time pathology reporting to the cancer registry is not currently feasible in most instances, as the current practice of creating the reports with unstructured and potentially incomplete data makes it cost-prohibitive and/or technologically impossible.

CCR receives abstracts from reporting facilities statewide at least 15 months after the first diagnosis, on average. This timing reflects the reality throughout the U.S.

Such reporting delays severely impair operational efficiency, result in missed opportunities to locate other data on the same patient, and divert scarce resources away from the development of more advanced approaches to cancer informatics and surveillance linked to cancer care.

CDMC’s most-important objective is “Real-time Reporting of Incident Cancer Cases with Demographic Data.” In order to reach that goal, CDMC is strongly committed to achieving statewide implementation of standardized electronic pathology reporting, and is very hopeful that laboratories in California will find it compelling to participate in this important, potentially life-altering (and life-saving) initiative.

Our Mission

CDMC is dedicated to improving patient outcomes by providing
leadership that brings pathology best practices into the 21st Century.
We will achieve that mission by advancing from the current reliance on
free-form narrative text toward routine utilization of structured
data for cancer diagnosis, so that real-time information
supports the cancer community’s common goal of improving
the efficiency, experience and outcomes of care
across the health and care continuum.

Our Vision and Objectives

The knowledge and tools needed to accomplish our goals are not dreams for the future; they already exist. So we believe our mission is not a “maybe someday” objective, but a realizable goal toward which we can start making tangible, measurable progress within months. Over the longer term, we envision a world in which professionals routinely employ the most up-to-date tools, technologies and best practices, and in which the outcomes for the people we serve – cancer patients – will steadily, demonstrably improve. We are committed to instigating this transformational change by:

  • Enhancing knowledge by implementing a standards-based approach for cancer data creation and transmission, along with the construction of a data repository that minimizes the manual derivation of information from pathology reports.
  • Assertively working with vendors, laboratories and pathologists to optimize the usability and workflow of standardized data-entry forms within middleware and laboratory information-system software.
  • Ensuring that all stakeholders have a voice in the decision-making process for establishing and implementing standards and methods, while fostering dialogue with relevant national organizations in support of our mission and objectives.
  • Developing aggregated data-analytics capabilities that support the business needs of pathologists and other providers, while creating standards, methods, policies and procedures that automate cancer-data reporting in “real time.”
  • Promoting broad use by making data readily available; aligning with government standards, business drivers and care metrics; and documenting processes, successes and setbacks so that other states can use our work as a model.

California Society of Pathologists

CSP is the premier state organization of pathologists for pathologists. It provides education, advocacy, government relations and practice management geared toward the needs of practicing pathologists.

CSP represents pathologists in government affairs and provides a voice to legislators and regulatory policymakers. Members work together on all areas that have a potential impact on pathology in California. CSP is also a resource for information and direction on legal and practice issues. We provide references to outside attorneys and consultants for specific member assistance.

The organization publishes a quarterly newsletter, CSP Bulletin, which keeps members current on our activities. It also provides a review of local, state and national legislation and important practice issues and regulations.

California Cancer Registry

CCR is a program of the California Department of Public Health. It is a statewide, population-based cancer surveillance system, collecting information on all cancers diagnosed in California.

This information furthers the understanding of cancer risks and trends, and is used to develop strategies and policies for its prevention, treatment and control. The availability of data on cancer allows health researchers to analyze demographic, behavioral and other factors that affect cancer risk, early detection and effective treatment. This data also helps determine where early detection, educational and other cancer-control programs should be directed.

CCR is recognized as one of the leading cancer registries in the world, and has been the cornerstone of a substantial amount of research. To date, CCR has collected detailed information on over 5.5 million cases of cancer among Californians diagnosed from 1988 forward; more than 185,000 new cancer cases are added annually.